One of the things that made iOS very successful is the multitude of accessories it has – from keyboards to speaker docks, etc. – and this is because they used Apple’s proprietary port (which is rumored to be undergoing a huge change, by the way).
Microsoft may be going the same route. Currently, manufacturers seem to have their own idea for the best place to put a USB port: HTC seems to like the side (it’s on the left side on my HTC 7 Mozart), Nokia seems to prefer the top (as evident on my Lumia 710), while Samsung and many others prefer placing the port at the bottom. This creates a host of incompatibilities between devices making it impossible to create universal accessories. But if we were to trust what was being suggested by the position of the USB port on the Samsung Ativ S (currently the only official Windows Phone 8 device revealed) and the leaks of Nokia and HTC devices, we could be in for a nice surprise! Why don’t you take a peek at the photos after the break and see them for yourself?
Notice anything common? Why yes! They all have the USB ports at the bottom center. What could this mean? Unless they are there by sheer coincidence, it could be a strong indication that Windows Phone 8 might get some universal dock accessories. This, in my opinion, is a win-win situation both for manufacturers and consumers and could lead to a wider adoption of Windows Phone 8 devices and a plethora of official and third-party dock accessories if proven true.
So what can a lowly USB port do?
Given that Windows Phone 8’s kernel is derived from Windows 8 I expect the port to be USB host capable and could support a good percentage of the devices its desktop sibling supports. Speaker dock accessories could use USB connectivity for digital audio – PCs can do that now. We might see keyboard, remote and other input docks. There could be accessories that will allow us to read our USB storage devices or memory cards. Maybe even HDTV output docks (via MHL) and other wacky ideas. At the simplest sense, we’ll see charging docks that will work across devices regardless of manufacturer and model. Harmony!
At the moment, all we can do is speculate but the prospect of a universal accessory still excites me. I hope that this rumor is true. Please make it happen Microsoft and I’ll love you to bits!