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Microsoft creates the most useful Surface Pro 3 dock you can't buy


PCHF Tech News
Jan 10, 2015

Microsoft employees had created a custom dock for the Surface Pro 3 that's even more practical than the $199 (£131, AU$254) dock that Microsoft sells. The VESA-mounted dock brings the tablet to eye-level so users can power a multi-display setup from their Surface Pro 3, and the dock adds a USB port in the front for quick connection to peripherals like USB flash drives.

The dock was shown off in a session at Build 2015, and there's an optional lock so users can secure their tablets in an office.

Magnetic edge connector

Unlike the existing Surface Pro 3 dock that's being sold through Microsoft stores, this employee-made edition doesn't come with physical parts that need to snap into the Surface Pro 3's display-out and USB ports.

Employees are leveraging the magnetic edge connector - the same connector that the Type Cover keyboard snaps into - to make docking simple with no moving parts required.


"Docking is easier than ever because we use the zero-insertion force 40-pin magnetic edge connector which breaks out into DisplayPort, power, and USB. So you just drop in your tablet and you're up and running with a full desktop experience in seconds," Microsoft wrote on its developer channel blog. "No moving parts. No cables to plug in. Simple one step docking."

Enterprise use

Aside from the easier docking mechanism with the magnetic edge connector, enterprise users will benefit the most from the VESA mount on the dock. This allows multi-monitor setups where the Surface Pro 3's display would line up with other monitors on the desk.

Unfortunately, at this time, the dock is only an internal concept that's created by employees. Hopefully, Microsoft will work on commercializing this solution in the future given the increasing popularity of the Surface line.

In its most recent earnings call, Microsoft revealed that revenue for its Surface business has increased 44% year-over-year compared to a general decline in tablet sales by the rest of the industry.

If you want to see the dock at Build, you can watch Microsoft's video at the 22:15 mark.



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