Microsoft has introduced a new laptop docking station that may give some clues as to the future of its Surface hardware range.
The new Microsoft Surface Thunderbolt 4 Dock comes with a USB-C port as the main power connector for the first time, in place of the company's proprietary Surface connection.
The dock will offer a wide range of connectivity options, packing in 3x USB-C ports, 3x USB-A ports, Ethernet, headphone jack, power input, and a Kensington security lock, but it will come at a price, going on sale for $299.99 US / £319.00 UK / AU$499.95.
Bye-bye Surface Connect, hello USB-C
Microsoft has utilized the Surface Connect port since 2014, so the new launch may indicate a significant change for future devices. The new Surface Dock will connect to any device with a USB-C port, adding all eight previously mentioned ports and the ability to drive up to two 4K monitors via USB-C.
Alternatively, we could see future Microsoft devices sport both the Surface Connect port and a USB-C/Thunderbolt port, as seen on the current Surface Laptop 5 and Surface Pro 9.
For those users with older devices, Microsoft says it will continue to sell the previous-generation Surface 2 Dock, which does feature a Connect port. However, it is still being determined if Microsoft plans to continue creating devices with the unique Surface Connect port in future models.
"Surface products are always designed for versatility – from a laptop with the flexibility of a tablet in the Surface Pro to the Surface Laptop Studio that instantly transitions from powerful laptop to creative canvas, Surface devices let you work the way that best suits your needs," noted Yaron Galitzky, VP Product Development, Microsoft Devices, in a blog post announcing the news.
"A key part of this versatility is the ability to instantly connect to a desktop setup at home or in the office for expansive work. A single, fast connection that provides access to external monitors and the accessories that customize your office or home workspace helps you to get more done."
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