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Logitech Ships its One Billionth Mouse

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 12 comments

Can’t you just hear Dr. Evil reading this statement: “Logitech announced today that it has manufactured one billion mice since it first started producing the digital rodents for retail in 1985.”

As remarkable as that statistic may be, we were even more impressed to learn that Logitech is now manufacturing these ubiquitous devices at the rate of 376,000 every day: That’s 7.8 million every month and 94 million every year. The company reached the 100 million mark in 1996 and had sold 500 million of them by 2003.

Looked at from another angle, Logitech has spawned enough mice to supply nearly the entire population of China with one (they’re about 300,000 short, but they have enough to span the length of the Great Wall 20 times over). The company came up with a seemingly endless supply of other fun facts to commemorate the occasion. Did you know that weight of one billion mice would be enough to sink the Titanic? Their combined weight is three times that of famous ocean liner.

Logitech didn’t invent the mouse. That distinction belongs to Douglas Engelbart of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Engelbart called his invention the “X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System” when he demonstrated it publicly on December 9, 1968. But mice didn’t become essential to PCs until Microsoft released its first operating system with a graphical user interface, Windows 1.0, in 1985. The device has been part of the Macintosh experience since that machine’s debut.

These days, it’s difficult to imagine using a desktop computer without a mouse, even machines like HP’s TouchSmart series that come equipped with touch-screens. While some experts, including Microsoft’s Bill Gates, have suggested the mouse is nearing the end of its useful life, Logitech’s Rory Dooley isn’t buying it. Senior vice president of Logitech’s Control Devices business unit, Dooley writes in a bylined article Logitech released today “…the mouse is a fantastically Intuitive HCI [human-computer interface] device that has opened up the world of computing to the masses. It’s ideal for activities that require precision and efficiency and is the perfect tool for navigating the command interface of almost every modern software application.”

Dooley argues that the mouse will continue to evolve and improve alongside computer user interfaces. “As we look to the future and the introduction of new applications,” Dooley writes, “I believe that the mouse will maintain its status as the primary input device for the computer, but that it will be complemented by voice, gesture, and touch.

Logitech also released details of several mouse designs that never made it out of their R&D lab. Here are four of the stranger design failures Logitech was willing to admit to.

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  • 4 Hide
    gwellin , December 5, 2008 1:20 PM
    WARNING to all ships in the north Atlantic. Logitech today announced that it has produced a "mouse-berg" that has the potential to sink an full size ocean cruise liner.
  • 1 Hide
    bf2gameplaya , December 5, 2008 2:17 PM
    Try using a trackball instead of a mouse, make sure it fits your hand and give it more than 3 minutes of use before you decide.

    You might never want to use a mouse again, for good reason.
  • 2 Hide
    zak_mckraken , December 5, 2008 3:03 PM
    A trackball is merely an upside-down mouse! ;) 

    While I agree that touch-screens, voice control and even brain control (OCZ NIA) are nice additions to the computing "experience", I really can't imagine anything replacing a mouse in video games.
  • 1 Hide
    pip_seeker , December 5, 2008 4:48 PM
    I tell ya what the logitech laser [cordless] mouski is the best mouse in the whole world.

    I have used the crap out of him so much so that the silver paint is wearing off where you click. but he still works just as good as the day I bought him.

    balls were made for bouncing / hanging... not rolling. lol.
  • 1 Hide
    KITH , December 5, 2008 4:58 PM
    A trackball has the ability for finer control as it is moved by a finger and not the whole arm. It is also easier on the elbow as once again you are moving just a finger.

    I use a trackball with the ball by the thumb. It seems to be the best way to go. Unfortunately, manufacturers haven't come out with a new trackball with this design in like a decade so no high performance (high dpi) trackballs are available. Still like it for games but is makes precision aiming difficult.
  • 0 Hide
    rubix_1011 , December 5, 2008 5:08 PM
    Did you know that weight of one billion mice would be enough to sink the Titanic?

    I hear icebergs do a better job, and for far less the cost of a billion, plastic optical mice.
  • 1 Hide
    Pei-chen , December 5, 2008 5:47 PM
    Apple will do well buying Logitech as Apple engie designed a puck ball mouse.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 5, 2008 5:51 PM
    mx 500 at 1000 hz ftw!!!

    So smooth... can literally twitch and make my mouse go exactly where i want it...

    HUGE improvement over my previous g7 mouse
  • 0 Hide
    jaragon13 , December 5, 2008 10:05 PM
    bf2gameplayaTry using a trackball instead of a mouse, make sure it fits your hand and give it more than 3 minutes of use before you decide.You might oh yeah? I used one for 1-2 years,and I didn't have a problem with it...never want to use a mouse again, for good reason.

  • 0 Hide
    jaragon13 , December 5, 2008 10:06 PM
    oh yeah? I used one for 1-2 years damn comment box
  • 0 Hide
    seatrotter , December 8, 2008 2:22 AM
    bf2gameplayaTry using a trackball instead of a mouse, make sure it fits your hand and give it more than 3 minutes of use before you decide.You might never want to use a mouse again, for good reason.

    I still miss my trackball even though it was more that 4 years ago :( 

    It was an A4Tech, WWT-13. Not only was it comfortable and quite fast (to use), but also the two scroll/wheel (with the help of its bundled software) allowed me to scroll vertically and horizontally, and w/o having to activate the object/window (w/c added to the fast experience). Unfortunately, the frequency of cleaning its internals and the spread of relatively cheap optical/led mouse forced me to abandon it. I still can do the the vertical/horizontal scroll combo, though: I made a program to generate/replace vertical scroll messages w/ horizontal scroll messages (and send the message to the object/window where the pointer hovers, w/o activating it :)  )
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 8, 2008 9:23 AM
    Yeah, this also means Logitech is on the way to being a major polluter. We have to assume that all of these billion mice are not still in use. Many are presumably outdated and replaced with newer mice, as things like scroll wheels, optical mice, etc., where introduced over the years. So what's happened to the mice that people don't use anymore? Does Logitech have a program to collect them? Or are they just going into landfill, with all the toxic bits generally associated with electronics? Mice must really be up there with cell phone chargers as one of the ubiquitous devices people that people end up with piles of and which are a hidden environmental disaster.