Every now and then, a tech company produces a product so odd that we journalists are left eyeballing the design and wondering if we've been punked. The OpenOffice Mouse (covered here
) was definitely such a beast. With 18 buttons, an analog joystick, scrollwheel, and up to 52 programmable commands, the OOMouse promised to redefine mouse use.
After nearly a year of silence, the OOMouse is back, rebranded, and better than ever. The confusing OpenOffice moniker and ugly white-blue color scheme have been dropped in favor of an all-black finish and a new name. Ladies and gentlemen, please direct your attention to the WarMouse:
Behold the WarMouse.
According to WarMouse (the company), this 18-button wonder offers:
Could The WarMouse's Target Audience Please Step Forward?
- 18 programmable mouse buttons with double-click functionality
- High-resolution laser sensor with resolution adjustable from 100 to 5,600 DPI/CPI
- Five assignable button modes: Key, Keypress, Macro, Mouse, and Mouse-Key Combo
- Analog Xbox 360-style joystick with six analog and digital settings
- Clickable scroll wheel
- 512k of flash memory
- 64 on-mouse application modes with hardware, software, and autoswitching capability
- 1024-character macro support
- Meta Modeware for creating, managing, and customizing game and application modes
- Import and export of custom modes in XML format
- Taskbar display of active application mode
- PDF export of application mode button assignments
- Graphical pop-up map of application mode button assignments
- 64 default modes for popular games and applications, including Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird, Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook, OpenOffice.org Writer, Calc, and Impress, 3D Studio Max, Autodesk AutoCAD, 3DS Max, Adobe Photoshop CS4, Adobe Reader, the Gnu Image Manipulation Program, Aion Online, World of Warcraft, Counter Strike, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator
We see one unique and immediate use for this ground-breaking Handheld Compensation Device. People who are handicapped or have lost a limb might actually find it easier to type on a device like the WarMouse once the appropriate modes were programmed. While such users are the very definition of a niche market, developing peripherals to assist the physically disabled is important and practically useful as it generates fabulous PR.
Note, however, that this 18-button mousetrosity isn't being marketed as the GimpMouse or even the AssistMouse. Instead, we have the WarMouse, and we can't help questioning just how useful it would be in a frantic real-world gaming session. One of the best things about a 3-5 button mouse, after all, is the fact that there's a limited number of things you can screw up.
With an 18-button programmable mouse with 64 separate application modes, however, the chance of hitting the wrong button at the wrong time is exponentially increased. Raid leaders can be understanding, but only to a point—most of them get irritated when a healer wipes the raid 3x in a row after accidentally shifting over to his DPS macros.
If you think the WarMouse looks like the best thing around you can currently order one for $60. If you take one for a test drive, let us know how it works out for you. Smash hit or crazy blunder, this thing definitely pushes the bar.