Multi-Device Peripherals

Due to the USB-C ports on my MacBook, I bought a mouse that could connect with Bluetooth, a Logitech M720 Triathlon. It’s a good little mouse. One feature it had was a button that let you toggle between up to three devices (Bluetooth or the included dongle). I didn’t think much about it either way. It was interesting, but not something I saw a big need for.

Until the last couple of weeks, when sheltering in place for COVID-19.

While I have an external mouse for my WorkTop, I opted to use the dongle for the M720 with my WorkTop. This helped limit how many devices I had on my desk. It’s been nice for that. At times, I even finding myself bouncing between the WorkTop and MacBook using that.

It was like a headset I bought a few years ago, a Logitech H800. It had a switch that made it easy to switch between a dongle (that I plugged into whatever laptop I was using) and a Bluetooth device (my phone). I really loved that I could flip so easily.

Logitech seems to be making a variety of devices–not just mice and headsets but keyboards, too–that work this way. I confess it does seem to be more of a Logitech thing.

What I find striking about this is that it’s even a thing. While old-school hardware switchboxes (and even software ones) have existed forever, it was more of a data center/IT thing. Only the geekiest had enough different devices that sharing peripherals was relevant.

But it looks, to me, like we’ve reached a point where enough people want to use their favorite mouse or keyboard with multiple devices, it’s commercially viable to build it in. It could be like me, with a work and personal laptop, or sharing with a laptop and tablet. It feels, to me, like some milestone we’ve quietly achieved.