I’ve been a great protagonist of the Kickstarter project and have subscribed for several new ideas, including the LunaTik nano watch and the OneLessDrop cable tidy. My latest selection is one neat idea, a simple but very effective docking station for the MacBook Air.
The idea behind Kickstarter is that it is a showplace for new ideas and inventions that need a kickstart in funding. If you like a project you pledge an agreed amount by giving your credit card details. The neat aspect is that your card is not debited immediately. There is always a minimum funding level to be achieved and, once that trigger point is reached, the pledge is redeemed and the inventor has sufficient funds to get the project underway.
In most cases, the basic amount gets you one of the first items off the production line although there is often the opportunity to pledge larger amounts in return for greater favours.
In the case of the LandingZone docking station the Kickstarter target for funding is $50,000 and a pledge is $139 or more. In return, you will receive a docking station once it goes into production and will make a significant saving on the expected $200 retail price. If you live outside the USA you are asked to add $20 to the pledge to cover international shipping.
Now docking stations are a bit 90s. Time was when every Toshiba or Compaq could be bought with a massive desk unit to allow the portable to be slipped in and connected without cables. I always thought it a good idea, but the concept has fallen by the wayside in recent years. Rapidly changing case designs and layouts don’t help, of course.
But if ever a laptop would benefit from a docking station it is the MacBook Air. All your cables and peripherals, including power and ethernet, remain plugged into the dock so that the computer can be removed or docked in seconds.
I am strongly tempted by this one. My only reservation is that the current design is specific to the 2010 and 2011 Airs. While it will fit either 11in or 13in models, the connector for the power and USB port is tailored for the current case layout. If Apple revise the Airs in 2012, as I fully expect they will, there is a danger that the port positioning could be altered. Even a slight amendment would render the dock useless. Nevertheless, the idea is simple and brilliant and I will probably give it a go.