April 28, 2008
3Dconnexion’s SpaceNavigator for Notebooks Ventures off the Desktop
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3Dconnexion’s SpaceNavigator for Notebooks Ventures off the Desktop
by Susan Smith
3Dconnexion, a Logitech company, has carved out a niche for itself by offering a 3D mouse product that allows users to navigate through 3D workspaces with ease of movement and control. Newly introduced is the SpaceNavigator for Notebooks, a mighty little 3D mouse designed expressly for mobile professionals and enthusiasts who need to be able to access 3D on the go.
3Dconnexion is always differentiating its product line to the point of providing a one-of-a-kind solution.
“No matter what type of user you are, whether you are a student or professional designer, you can find something in this product line that relates to you and your needs,” said Ziva Nissan, 3Dconnexion’s director of product marketing.
SpaceNavigator is their entry level product priced at $59, an affordable alternative that gives the user the ability to navigate through 3D space with more control than they can with a regular mouse. SpaceNavigator for Notebooks encompasses the same benefits as SpaceNavigator but with a “new cap design for more immersive and natural interactions with 3D applications,” according to the press release.
Robustly designed, the SpaceNavigator for Notebooks is durable enough to withstand the rigors of travel, has its own case and slips easily into a laptop bag. Smaller than the SpaceNavigator, the device is easy to use anywhere in the world.
In 3Dconnexion’s view, each person should have the chance to experience 3D at its optimal performance. “I don’t want to zoom one point at a time with a mouse, or pan and be locked into that motion,” Nissan pointed out. “I want to fly myself through an application so that if I’m looking at an object, I want to have the feeling like I’m holding it in my hand. That’s what my devices offer. So now we have a product line that gives all that great navigation and with all the great design features.” Their SpacePilot has an LCD that allows you to see multiple functions being executed and listed.
The company’s goal is to build on their product line and continue to give the same feature set and differentiating products to different types of customers. In the past year, 3Dconnexion has partnered with a number of different application vendors such as ESRI, Google Earth, Virtual Earth, NASA World Wind, and on AEC side: Archicad and Allplan. 3Dconnexion plans to extend new types of applications into brand new markets that have the ability to promote great navigation.
3Dconnexion products offer navigation in “one fluid motion,” and the ability to work with both hands. “A lot of professionals are looking for something that is more efficient, focusing on design rather than tools they’re using,” said Nissan. “Work can always have a certain sense of fun when working in 3D.”
SpaceNavigator for Notebooks trades on its portability, as people often carry their work with them these days. Nissan said 62% of the Mac market is notebook, and Windows is catching up. Although the SpaceNavigator for Notebooks weighs 280 grams (.51 lbs.) it has some heft to account for the fact that you must pull up on the cap. Unlike a mouse that you move around, the device has to adhere to the desk or another surface. SpaceNavigator for Notebooks has half the weight and half the footprint of the entry level SpaceNavigator.
The device can be used on an airline, placed on the empty portion of a laptop, right next to the touchpad. It doesn’t add a lot of weight to your laptop. The new cap design allows you to lift, press and turn the control cap to move through 3D space and zoom and rotate the view with easy control. The cap is contoured so that you can always tell what the correct orientation is as it sits on your desk.
A year ago, Nissan said the Mac community embraced a demo of the driver for the notebook device and said they wanted it for SpaceNavigator so 3Dconnexion built the driver. This year at MacWorld, 3Dconnexion sold 300 devices very quickly. Traditionally, the Mac community has not had as much 3D support as the Windows community, however, Nissan, said it is moving more toward 3D.
The MSRP for the SpaceNavigator for Notebooks is $129.00, a 35% decrease from SpaceTraveler, their popular mobile 3D mouse product that will be discontinued.
The new device has a two year warranty, and will be available from major online resellers such as CDW, Amazon and Apple.com
Nissan said they expect to build products for every type of user, and will build on top of SpaceNavigator, SpacePilot, and SpaceExplorer what their customers want.
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-- Susan Smith, AECCafe.com Managing Editor.
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