The touch scrolling lets you scroll vertically as well as horizontally. If you run your finger backward, forward and sideways on the touch strip, you can scroll around a Web page or document.
Previous touch mice from Microsoft had the ability to scroll vertically, but not horizontally. The Arc Touch Mouse, for instance, had a vertical scrolling strip on the top of the mouse.
The mouse is wireless and Microsoft says the battery will last 18 months. It works for either right handed or left handed people and it has 5 customizable buttons.
This seems like a Microsoft response to Apple’s Magic Mouse, another mouse with a touch sensitive surface. The Magic Mouse is included with new iMacs.
I have not played with either mouse, but from looking at the specs, it looks like Apple’s mouse can recognize more gestures, such as two-fingered swiping and screen zooming.
If you’re interested in reading more about the designers in Microsoft’s hardware team, check out this Seattle Times story on Young Kim, the designer who made the Arc Touch Mouse, which curls and flattens for travel.