Wireless keyboards and mice have been around for a while now but for the most part they utilise Bluetooth technology to connect with your PC but HP has eschewed that convention and announced the world’s first Wi-Fi mouse.
The issue with USB peripherals is that they annoyingly take up USB ports and while on most desktops that may not be a problem, on other systems where USB ports are like hens teeth, it becomes a major issue. Logitech tried to solve the problem with its Unifying Receiver where you wirelessly connect multiple devices (including a mouse to one USB port. Now HP has done away with the need for a USB port at all using a Wi-Fi connection to connect its HP Wi-Fi Mobile Mouse. So what’s the benefit over Bluetooth? Well, HP is claiming its mouse will have double the battery life of a comparable Bluetooth device – up to nine months on a pair of AA batteries.Sadly if you're a Mac user (or using anything less than Windows 7) you're out of luck.
Other than that the mouse offers little new. It has five customisable buttons to create a variety of shortcuts, a four-way-tilt scroll wheel and it can be used up to 10 metres from your PC – a similar distance that you get from Bluetooth devices. The HP Wi-Fi Mobile Mouse is going on sale in the US next month at a cost of $49.99 and we’re awaiting UK pricing and release dates.
Not content with announcing the world’s first Wi-Fi mouse, HP also announced its own version of the Unifying Receiver, called Link-5. It will allow up to five HP-compatible peripherals to be connected wirelessly to one USB port. No drivers or software are required, just press ‘Connect’ on the accessory and away you go. Among the peripherals being launched by HP with Link-5 compatibility include a mini keyboard, an ultrathin keyboard, an Elite V2 keyboard, an optical mouse, a laser mouse and of course the Wi-Fi mouse. Not much variety there and unless you want to connect three keyboards and two mice to the receiver, there’s not much point in getting one at the moment. Hopefully more accessories will be coming soon so we can live in a completely wireless world.
HP do wireless pretty well. Just look at the TouchStone technology in its mobile phones and tablet. We’re sure this new Wi-Fi mouse and Link-5 receiver will work just as well, but only if there is enough peripherals released to support it.