USB has become a part of most of our lives since it became the de facto standard for connecting peripherals to our computers at home and work. Firewire may have been first on the scene but it’s been solidly bumped by USB since 2.0 became the standard. Apple has taken a lot of flack for dropping Firewire from the new MacBook but truth be told they see the light and it’s powered by USB.
A couple of years ago we started hearing about the Next Big Thing in USB, the wireless version that would free our desktops from the coils of tangled cables that are the norm. Laptops and other devices would incorporate integrated wireless USB and peripherals would start appearing in great numbers to push us firmly into the wireless desktop age. So what happened to that scenario?
I have never seen a device in use with wireless USB capability nor have I seen word of any peripherals sans cables. The only devices I have seen at all with wireless USB technology are a few USB hubs that frankly defeat the whole purpose of the concept. Sure you can hook up all your old wired USB peripherals to the hub that then can connect wirelessly to your PC but that only removes one wire out of many from the desktop. All those peripheral wires are still all over the place with only the one hub cable replaced by wireless technology. Not what we were hoping for.
Two years ago Toshiba showed off their cool wireless USB dock with the hot new Tablet PC, the R400. Those of us in the crowd at the first public demonstration were wowed by not only the wireless USB peripherals but also the wireless connection to the external monitor. One device, no wires. It was cool and foretold of great things to come. So what happened? The R400 never took off and we never saw the wireless dock mentioned much again, which is kind of the situation with the whole wireless USB thing. Come to think of it not even Toshiba produced any other products with the demonstrated technology. Does anybody use the technology currently and if so, how is it? I have a mound of tangled cables beside my desk that needs to go away so my interest is personal.