The mouse that talks

How Japan likes to rub in its gadget superiority – while most of Britain carries on blindly using its landlines for phone calls in the face of interne

How Japan likes to rub in its gadget superiority – while most of Britain carries on blindly using its landlines for phone calls in the face of internet telephony, Sony has launched a mouse that doubles as a VoIP phone.

It’s clearly too complex a device to release in a world where it’s still known for people to wave around a mouse in mid-air, so it’s sadly staying in Japan’s techie hands for the moment.

The concept, though, is intriguing. The Mouse Talk acts as a normal, corded mouse with a scroll wheel for Windows 2000 and XP computers when folded. Then, when you receive a call through your VoIP software (such as Skype or Google Talk), an LED flashes and a noise sounds on your computer – cue its Transformer morph into a phone handset.

It also apparently has echo cancellation to increase the call quality, and is available in a choice of white, red, green, black and blue. The only potential problem we can see is that you won’t be able to control your mouse cursor while on the phone, unless you fancy trying to roll it around the contours of your face.

Let’s hope there’s a speakerphone version by the time it makes it over to the UK, which is still unconfirmed. If you’re planning on visiting Tokyo, though, you’ll be able to get one there from February for 8000 yen – around £40.