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The American company Razer Inc. caught the spotlight five years ago by releasing an excellent mouse for professional gamers, the Razer Boomslang 2000 model. This smart and incredibly accurate ball mouse was to become a cult device among the cyberathletes – many of its users long refused to switch to optical models.

Having gone a hard and long way, Razer returned to the market of top-end pointing devices last year with the Viper and with the newest Diamondback models.

We’re going to offer you a review of both optical mice from Razer today.

About Razer Inc.

The story of Razer is a fight of a team of talented developers with all kinds of external misfortune, both economical and natural.

Everything began in the December of 1997 with the first prototype, a “butt-ugly” mouse (that’s how the original document describes the new device) with a sensitivity of 800dpi. In the fall of 1998 they decided to invest into the development of a special mouse for gamers, designers and CAD users – for all people who would evaluate a high-precision positioning. Thus Razer was founded and “karna precision” technology was invented.

It took a whole year to create the device. Understanding the importance of marketing, they spend much effort on creating an appealing image of the product. Fitch designed the mouse itself, the official website and the overall style of the brand, while Ignited Minds was responsible for advertising and promotion. September 18, 1999, first samples of the product were manufactured on Taiwan, but only to be damaged during the memorable earthquake three days later. The sales, however, did begin in November, and about 20 thousand items of the Razer Boomslang 1000 (1000dpi, $60) and Boomslang 2000 (2000dpi, $100) models were sold before Christmas. But in the January of 2000 the company whose facilities Razer’s mice were made on quitted the business. The manufacture stopped for half a year, and Razer also had to change its sales partner as the previous one had gone bankrupt…

The Boomslang was named the gaming accessory of the year, got a design reward from BusinessWeek as well as numerous praises from reviewers and ordinary gamers alike. Many professional cyberathletes used the Boomslang, and Razer sponsored a major Quake 3 Arena championship called Razer/CPL (using a Boomslang 2000, the cybersport legend Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel won the event, and took almost half the prize money that amounted to $100,000). In the fall, however, a major mouse maker bought Razer’s sales partner and asked them to stop selling the Boomslang. In January 2001 the developer team was disbanded. The heads were seeking a new partner to renew the work, but an Asian typhoon destroyed heavily the stores of components. Razer seemed to have vanished from the market for ever, as is often the case with “enthusiastic” companies like 3dfx or nVENTIV.

The team didn’t give up, though. They took another year to perfect the product, transfer the manufacture to China and introduce the Boomslang 2100 model. The first OEM order came from the well-known Germany-based TerraTec and the TerraTec Mystify Razer Boomslang 2100 appeared (“MRB 2100”). They showcased the product at CeBIT’03 and got numerous positive comments, but the problems with the manufacture and import due to the SARS epidemic hindered the release. TerraTec later refused from the MRB 2100. The same OEM product was later introduced by the American BFG Technologies, which is mostly known for its graphics cards, but we have no information about the sales volumes.

So, producing the perfected Boomslang for other companies under OEM contracts proved to be a wrong way, and one year ago the resilient Razer made another attempt. They once again launched the website, and showed two new mice in the US and Europe under their own brand. Based on the Boomslang technologies, they were the Razer Boomer Speed (1400dpi) and Razer Boomer Control (2100dpi). But the time of ball mice was gone and I doubt anyone regarded the attempt with any interest in the end of 2003. The developers realized that, too. Anyway, the fourth reincarnation of Razer was the most successful. And mostly because the very concept of a super-high-quality ball mouse with the characteristic Boomslang design was abandoned – the next model was developed from scratch.

Having changed the manufacturing partner for the Singapore-based Razer Asia Pacific, Razer announced their first optical mouse in January, 2004. The sales of the product began in the last spring. In the ensuing half a year of sales the company was listening to the customers’ reports and on September 30 introduced its next generation of mice, the Razer Diamondback model. Earlier models from Razer enjoyed popularity among the connoisseurs, but were rather rare even among cyberathletes. Today, however, the Razer Diamondback is proclaimed an official product of World Cyber Games (in Germany, Austria and Switzerland) which is an indication of its acknowledgement by professional gamers. We will examine both models today to show you why the best gamers of the world appreciate the pointing equipment from Razer.

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