Know Your Electronics: Docking Station Explained

It's fast moving isn't it, this world of electronics? Docking station technology is yet another side of the industry that's been growing at ever accelerating rates, and yet it seems to be something that few people are all that familiar with. We aim to change that by giving you a low down on just what docking stations are and how they can make your life easier!

Although they sound like something from science fiction, or a NASA mission, docking stations are actually very straightforward pieces of technology. The umbrella term is derived from the fact that you, quite literally, use them as a point to "dock" (that's "connect" in plain English to you and I) other devices into.

Docking stations come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and they can now be found for a huge variety of different devices. In the past, they were most common among certain brands of laptops, the business oriented Lenovo Think Pad offered a docking station add on to its smaller models. In order to improve the portability of the device they removed certain features (like optical disk drive) from the main unit and instead placed them in the docking station, which proved an ideal solution.

As the technology world moves so fast, it is often the case that connections and ports fail to adhere to any kind of standard. This is not ideal for the consumer, since it means that they are forced to pay over the odds for specific devices, while a generic one may be available for a fraction of the cost, but with a different connection. This is where docking stations come into their own these days.

Rather than making it necessary to buy specific types of connection all the time, you can now buy a docking station that is tailored for your device, and connect other items through it by way of the dock. The best example for this would be with Apple's iPod. There are many speaker based solutions for those of us who want to use our iPods to listen to music without earphones. Without docking station technology, such a solution would be impossible, but thanks to it, we can now place our iPod into the dock which then connects it to speakers allowing us to listen to our music free from the constraints of earphones!

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