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Mouse Redundant IN Five Years, Say Analysts


Mouse Redundant In Five Years, Says Gartner

Analyst Steven Prentice at the firm Gartner is being reported by the BBC as predicting that the humble mouse will see its demise within the next five years. Prentice cites the development of new peripherals and input methods, which are replacing traditional methods of interacting with computer devices.

Explaining these assertions Prentice cited such devices such as OCZ's Neural Impulse Actuator (NIA), and cameras with built-in face recognition.

"You've got Panasonic showing forward facing video in the home entertainment environment. Instead of using a conventional remote control you hold up your hand and it recognises you have done that. It also recognises your face and that you are you and it will display on your TV screen your menu. You can move your hand to move around and select what you want.

Sony and Canon and other video and photographic manufacturers are using face recognition that recognises your face in real time. And it recognises even when you smile.

You even have emotive systems where you can wear a headset and control a computer by simply thinking and that's a device set to hit the market in September. This is all about using computer power to do things smarter."

The latter reference is to OCZ's (NIA), which monitors brain waves and uses actions such as blinking to substitute for mouse clicks and keyboard presses. However, the NIA still requires the use of a keyboard and mouse, not to mention a considerable amount of practice and a fairly large financial outlay for an arguably small benefit. In my opinion, at least, it's going to be a lot more than five years before the technology is ready for mainstream adoption, although I can't deny the massive potential.

Peripheral manufacturers don't see the mouse losing its value in the near future either. Logitech's Senior Vice President, Rory Dooley, commented that "the death of the mouse is greatly exaggerated. The devices we use have been modified for our changing lifestyles but it doesn't negate the value of the mouse."

Frankly, I have to agree. Whatever Gartner wants to assert, I can't see the mouse going anywhere anytime soon.


The Pope

July 21, 2008, 10:14 pm

Potentially in environments where a regular mouse isn't very practical - like home theatre - other innovations may develop (and be welcomed).

In the office desktop environment, it's hard to see the humble mouse disappearing. Even if we all had affordable, multi-touch 24" monitors... just as the keyboard isn't really under threat despite the advances in speech-to-text technology.

Won't stop 'em trying though :)

iain coghill

July 21, 2008, 10:19 pm

... and we're all going to have internet-enabled refrigerators too (remember those?).

Touch screens will work for some applications, mostly stuff where you don't need to input very much, but I can't imagine it will be very easy to find a comfortable position for using both keyboard and touch screen - you will get arm-ache. As for the other stuff, gestures may be fine for selection from menu driven systems but I bet a mouse will still win when even a modicum of precision is required.

History suggests and "...will be obsolete within 5 years" statements should be viewed with skepticism.


July 21, 2008, 10:28 pm

A quote from the article:

"The mouse works fine in the desktop environment but for home entertainment or working on a notebook it's over," declared analyst Steve Prentice."

Hardly 'the mouse is redundant' or 'say goodbye to the computer mouse'. In fact the 'prediction' doesn't appear to be stating anything other than the obvious fact that very few people are going to use a mouse on the move or on their sofa.

Personally I'm hoping the trackballs will come back into force.


July 21, 2008, 10:38 pm

I didn't word for word transcribe everything the BBC article quoted from the Gartner chap.

I agree, though, in certain specialised situations mice can be replaced, but personally I can't see anything taking their place on the desktop for a long time.

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