Let’s Cut the Cord on Proprietary Wireless Adapters

When I started to write this post, it was going to share news about Microsoft’s (s msft) newest BlueTrack Technology mouse offerings. I swear it was, because Microsoft makes a good mouse. I planned to tell you that either the new smaller Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 or Wireless Mouse 2000 will set you back $29.95. That’s a great price for a mouse that needs no pad. But I’m not going to focus on any of that since you can read the press release here. Instead — and I really don’t mean to make Microsoft an example because there are plenty of other culprits — I’m going to focus on three words: proprietary, wireless and adapter. If it were up to me, I’d never hear or say those three words in succession again when talking about modern day computing devices.

Last I checked, the calendar said the year was 2010. We’ve had a pretty solid and useful wireless standard in the form of Bluetooth 2.0 which the Bluetooth SIG adopted in 2004, so why do companies still take it upon themselves to add unnecessary wireless adapters to products? Yes, I realize I’m ranting a little here and you’re probably thinking, “what’s the big deal as long as it works?” If you’re asking that question, you probably haven’t used a mobile device that has a limited number of USB ports. I have, and I simply don’t want to clog up a USB port needlessly for a mouse. I have 3G adapters, flash drives, portable external USB hard drives, phones and cameras that I’d rather — or must — use with those ports. Why bother having a perfectly standard Bluetooth radio in devices if we’re not going to use them? It’s not like Bluetooth is a new, unproven technology or not readily offered in mobile devices.

Simply put, there’s no reason — technical or otherwise — that wireless peripherals like a mouse should only be supported by proprietary wireless means. I’m not suggesting the approach is totally killed off because I realize that most desktops and some laptops don’t offer Bluetooth. But it’s 2010 folks — let’s at least make the proprietary approach secondary to the widely recognized standards solutions. And I hate to point this out, because it’s just an example, but out of the 13 wireless mice currently offered on Microsoft’s Hardware site, only three use a standard Bluetooth connection, while the other 10 require a special USB transceiver. It’s time to pull the plug on this wireless waste.

Image courtesy of Microsoft

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