At CeBIT this morning Chinese peripherals firm Loshine showed off its range of low-cost portable peripherals, which it's using to attack a space that Microsoft has quietly dominated for several years.
Loshine, which hopes to establish a distribution foothold in the UK this year, makes foldaway mice for laptop users on the road, and small wireless keyboards for sofas, hotel rooms and gaming.
We were particularly struck by the Slimice Bluetooth Laser Mouse, which follows a similar design principle to the first-generation Microsoft Arc Wireless Mouse, but is likely to cost a fraction of the price; a Loshine representative felt that a wholesale price of under $9 was possible, although the final user cost would obviously depend on the distribution model and other considerations. Microsoft's Arc cost over £30 - although admittedly that was a couple of years ago.
It has to be said that Loshine is playing catchup; Microsoft has since followed up the Arc with the second-gen Arc Touch mouse, which earned a PC Advisor Recommended Award. It also folds up to fit in a pocket, but has a cooler bending action and a clever on-off switch built into the folding mechanism.
But the price points Loshine is talking about could give it a shot in a space where portability tends to come with a premium price tag.
The firm also reckons it's got Microsoft beat on dimensions, insisting that the placement of the battery on the Slimice gives it the edge by a few millimetres. We'll reserve final judgement until we get our hands on a review model - assuming Loshine's European masterplan works out.