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Finally! Someone has solved the problem of the obsolete docking station. Samsung Electronics in May will begin shipping Central Station, a universal docking station that wirelessly connects any Windows laptop to a high resolution display, Ethernet, USB and audio. Starting at $449 list price, including an integrated 23-inch LCD display, Central Station is aimed initially at consumers looking for the simplicity of a single point of connection for printers, scanners, and devices in need of recharging and for consumption of 1080p content.
Samsung expects interest on the consumer side to come from home-office workers and families looking for a simple homework station that offers permanent connections to a full-sized keyboard, mouse and other input and output resources. A 27-inch version also will be available, and will list for $599.
Sometime in June, Samsung will begin shipping 27-inch and 24-inch models for the enterprise. It's here that avoidance of docking station obsolescence might be most pertinent. Though B2B pricing has not been announced, Samsung expects that as with the consumer edition, the docking station-enabled monitor will bring a premium of about $200 over similar Samsung monitor alone. "A [laptop-specific] docking station costs about $100, so from a corporate buyer's perspective, if you don't have to replace it once, it's already paid for itself," said Evan Horowitz, Samsung's product manager for consumer displays.
Why hasn't anyone thought of this before? Now that we've gotten an understanding of exactly how Central Station works, we think others must have been scared away by the challenges. The solution includes a USB 2.0 dongle and one-time driver install, which "virtualizes all the elements" that make up Central Station, explained Horowitz.