If it could talk, what would a computer say to a mouse? That question or something similar was probably what the folks at Logitech asked...

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If it could talk, what would a computer say to a mouse? That question or something similar was probably what the folks at Logitech asked themselves when they decided to construct the world’s first smart mouse.

You see, the typical computer mouse has only a one-way conversation with your computer. It mainly speaks X and Y coordinates so that the computer knows where on the screen to display the mouse cursor.

As you continue to move the mouse, it keeps updating the X and Y values so that the computer can place the mouse cursor at the corresponding location.

The mouse also speaks when its buttons are pressed, and it tells which button it is if it has more than one of them. And that’s about it. The mouse speaks and the computer listens.

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But with the Logitech MX 610 Laser Cordless Mouse (www.logitech.com), the mouse speaks and listens as well.

The MX 610 is a cordless mouse and, as with anything cordless, battery life is of primary concern.

So to extend that life, the MX 610 “listens” to the computer to see what mode it’s in at any moment. When the computer sleeps, so does the MX 610. When the computer is turned off, so is the MX 610. And when the computer is turned back on, the MX 610 turns itself back on as well. Since all of this happens automatically, there’s no switch for you to forget to turn off, and you wind up with a mouse able to extend its battery life even more.

This automatic on/off feature is very cool and is the first ever to make its way into a mouse. More cordless peripherals should use this smart technology to increase their precious battery life.

The MX 610’s smarts don’t stop there. The mouse also listens to your computer for other important things, such as e-mail. When you have e-mail waiting, the computer lets the MX 610 know about it. The MX 610 sports a green e-mail notification light so you can see when new messages arrive. A second blue instant-message light illuminates when you get an instant message.

These lights also act as buttons. Pressing either one will cause a corresponding action, running either your e-mail or instant-messaging application. These indicators have been designed to be easily deactivated if you so desire.

In addition to being smart, the MX 610 has other abilities, such as being able to communicate even further with its ultra-compact receiver, which plugs into any USB port. Logitech designed it to use the newer 2.4 gigahertz frequency, which gives it up to five times greater range than comparable cordless mice that use the older 27 megahertz communications standard.

The MX 610’s scroll wheel offers back and forth as well as the newer left and right panning, but pressing the scroll wheel while scrolling lets you zoom in and out, making it ideal for viewing digital photographs.

You can also control the forward and back buttons in any Web browser using the ergonomically placed buttons directly to the side of the index-finger button. You also have volume and mute controls right next to those.

Finally, Logitech has given the MX 610 Smart Mouse the ultimate in tracking with its first-ever performance laser tracking system that was introduced in the MX 1000 model.

The MX 610 Laser Cordless Mouse or smart mouse is the next logical step in the evolution of the species. It requires Windows and two AA batteries.

Price: $59.99.