Sunday, April 3, 2011

3Dconnexion releases drivers for 3D Mice for any application


3Dconnexion has just released a new driver for its line of 3D Mice. According to their press release and website, this new driver will let users use their 3D Mouse ( SpaceNavigator, SpaceNavigator for Notebooks, SpaceExplorer USB and SpacePilot PRO) with any application they are running! That's an interesting concept.

I downloaded the driver (108 mb) for Windows 64 bit and installed it on my Windows 7 laptop.  That was easy and painless.  I plugged my Navigator and later my Space Pilot PRO into my laptop and started opening programs.  The left button could not be altered, but I can change the function of the right.  Out of the box it acts like a left-click of the mouse (a regular mouse.)  The Space Pilot Pro already had so much integration with it (RSS feeds on the display, Outlook Integration, etc) that at first it didn't seem like much, but it's there.

In Chrome (and other browsers) I could scroll up and down web pages.  It gave the scroll wheel on my non-3D mouse a break.  In Adobe PDF Reader I could zoom in and out of my document and scroll through pages.  The same thing with Microsoft Word 2010.

So what does this mean?  For most people not much.  But for users it means that these 3D mice will (should) work out of the box with all applications.  No need to wait for the driver.  However, being able to use these 3D mice with "everything" is not that big of a deal.  It's not because it doesn't add much more functionality to the programs.  But if you already have one then use it.  If you were concerned about getting one (face it they aren't cheap) because you weren't sure if they would work with your program or maybe you wanted more bang for your buck, then now, maybe you don't have to worry about it.

There are drivers for Mac OS, 32 bit Windows, 63 bit Windows, Siemens (3DxMagellanProxy), and a few others.  I didn't see any Linux support.  These drivers are still in Beta and are not officially supported.  If you have any issues with them, well, use them at your own risk, they are beta.

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