Great gadget ruined by form factor

SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. -- Asus, the Taiwanese company that makes the popular Asus Eee PC, has come up with an absolutely wonderful idea ruined by its form factor. The idea is to combine portable wireless mouse with flash storage. Designers chose -- inexplicably -- to make the device shaped not like a mouse, for which ergonomics are everything, but like a memory stick, for which ergonomics are irrelevant.

The Asus MS71 storage mouse, unveiled today at CeBIT 2008, has some ingenious design elements. It looks more or less the size of a big pack of gum. One end is held in place by a magnet. You detach the small end, which holds the transmitter, from the body of the device, and plug it into your laptop's USB drive. When you want to charge the mouse, just snap it back together while the transmitter is still connected, and it charges.

Brilliant!

Unfortunately, nobody is going to buy the darn thing because it's a terrible mouse, too boxy to use. How hard would it have been to simply change the shape of the plastic to make it fit a human hand?

Asus, don't ship this product. Go back and re-design the housing to make it an ergonomic mouse, then ship it. If you do that, every mobile user is going to want one.

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