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HP launches first NFC-equipped Touch to Pair Mouse

Hewlett Packard has announced a wireless mouse which comes with an interesting feature: tap-to-pair functionality.

The Bluetooth-connected Touch to Pair Mouse, designed for use with the growing number of hybrid tablet-stroke-laptop devices hitting the market with the impending launch of Microsoft's Windows 8 and Windows RT operating systems, includes Near-Field Communications (NFC) capabilities. As a result, the usual tedious pairing process for Bluetooth peripherals - where the user has to place the peripheral into discoverable mode, search for devices on the host system, pick the device from a list and enter a shared passcode - is replaced with a simple tapping action.

The idea is this: when tapped against another device with an NFC radio, the mouse automatically begins the Bluetooth pairing process. By the time the two devices are out of range - with the NFC radio being limited to just a few inches, rather than the tens of metres of a modern Bluetooth radio - the pairing process is complete and the NFC radio shuts down, with the Bluetooth radio taking over for the actual data communication process.

Sadly, there is a slight catch to what is on the surface a very clever idea: very few computers on the market today include NFC radios. Although becoming an increasingly common sight in smartphones and tablets, although not having been included in Apple's iPhone 5 launch, PCs have been slow to adopt the system, for the very sensible reason that NFC is largely about waving your device at other NFC hardware - something that's awkward to do with a laptop and all but impossible with a desktop.

Should the Touch to Pair Mouse be used with non-NFC computers, HP explains, it will function as a normal Bluetooth mouse and can be paired in the traditional manner.

HP has confirmed plans to launch the Touch to Pair Mouse in November, with a US recommended retail price of $39 (around £24 excluding taxes.) UK pricing has yet to be confirmed.

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