It’s hard to believe that it’s already 2009. Last year went by incredibly quickly and despite the blur of events, there are a few key areas that stick out for me as I look back on the last 12 months.
For the mouse-and-keyboard business, the year kicked off with the launch of our diNovo Mini product at CES. This was our second foray into the living room domain after the launch of MX Air mouse six months prior. The diNovo Mini is a combination typing and pointing device in a very compact form factor, so it’s great for use with media center PCs or for people who hook up a laptop to their TV screen. The device also has built in support for the Sony PS3 (PDF) and connects to both devices via Bluetooth technology. A great innovation on the diNovo Mini is the ClickPad, which functions as a directional pad when in CE mode and as a touchpad when in PC mode.
At that same show, we launched our next-generation high-end Bluetooth desktop, the MX 5500 cordless desktop, which combines a Bluetooth version of our award-winning MX Revolution mouse with a high-performance keyboard. The keyboard has a built-in LCD display, useful for providing quick updates, inbox notifications, etc.
At the outset of the year, it was clear that the notebook platform was going to dominate, so making our products even more notebook friendly became a major initiative for the team. We agreed that there isn’t just one magic feature that makes a product “notebook friendly.” Instead, we focused on developing a number of new features that would make it easier than ever for people to work with their notebooks, while maintaining the comfort and productivity features that people have come to expect from Logitech peripherals.
One of the key challenges in the notebook environment is making it easy and seamless to connect devices such as mice. Our nano-receiver provides a fantastic solution. The receiver is small enough that it stays plugged into the computer so that every time you switch on or open your notebook, the mouse is ready to work. In 2008, we tripled the size of our nano family of mice by launching the V550 Nano (with the clip-and-go dock) and the V450 Nano. Both of these products complement the award-winning VX Nano mouse.
We also upgraded our cordless technology because people often use their notebooks in busy wireless environments such as airports or conference areas. Our new Advanced 2.4 GHz technology is designed to work in the busiest of environments, with a connection as robust as a corded connection but with the convenience and ease we expect from wireless. The technology also offers another major advantage – impressive battery life. In fact, the V550 Nano mouse has a battery life of 18 months and we now offer two keyboards with a battery life of three years (diNovo keyboard for notebooks and the Wave Pro cordless desktop).
With the Wave PRO desktop, we also introduced a mouse that can recharge through the USB port – again, something that is incredibly useful when working with a notebook. And the Wave keyboard has set a new standard in comfort. Speaking of comfort, we also launched the MX1100 Mouse, which is the most comfortable mouse we have ever launched IMHO.
But there’s more…..
As the definition of where people use their computer became fuzzier, we also saw the need to innovate based on these changes. First up was the reality that people run, skip and hop from room to room (or office to office) with their laptops and – thanks to WLANs – remain connected. But often people don’t have enough hands to bring along their favorite notebook peripheral – their mouse! J The nano-receiver resolved the connectivity issue, but not the portability issue, so we introduced the clip-and-go dock with the V550 Nano mouse. The dock allows you to clip the mouse to the top of your notebook when moving from room to room.
We also noticed that more and more people are using their notebooks in the living room on a couch, so to enhance that experience, we recently launched the Comfort Lapdesk – designed to take couch computing to the next level of comfort.
Again in this fuzzy new world where people always seem to be connected to their computers, we realized that it’s a murky world – or let’s say, a dark world. There are many situations where people are working in their living room in dimly lit conditions – or even complete darkness – to avoid disturbing other family members. Our Illuminated Keyboard truly illuminates your typing experience and is again a great example of the team developing a product that adapts to the environment of the customer.
Finally, we spent a lot of time making things right on the Mac platform this year. We had software issues with previous versions of our control panel (LCC) which could cause kernel panics, so we focused on getting that right. Building on the platform, we launched several new products for the Mac, including optimized versions of the MX Revolution and VX Nano on the mouse side, as well as two new Mac-specific keyboards – the diNovo Edge, Mac Edition and the diNovo Keyboard Mac Edition.
Finally, to cap off the year, we shipped our billionth mouse (wow!) and celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first public demonstration of the mouse! Now it’s time to start prepare for what new developments 2009 will bring. I’ll be sure to keep you posted!