Alongside HP’s new EliteBooks that were announced today, the company also unveiled a new Thunderbolt 3 dock to go with them. They come with an interesting twist: a modular, Bang & Olufsen speakerphone attachment that can be mounted on top of the dock for conference calls (or, in theory, as a regular speaker if you’re not a business-obsessed drone).
Since it’s a USB-C dock, the most important features are the ports you’ll have access to, and the Thunderbolt Dock G2 has plenty. The side of the cube has a powered USB 3.0 port and a 3.5mm combo audio jack, while the back packs a Thunderbolt 3, a USB-C DisplayPort, two regular DisplayPort ports, a VGA port, two USB 3.0 ports, and an Ethernet jack.
Of course, there’s the Audio Module, which will be sold separately and attaches to the top of the device. More and more laptops are switching to USB-C, so it’s easy to see how a company could simply install the audio-enabled Thunderbolt Dock G2 into a conference room. It would allow workers charge their laptops, connect to Ethernet, and run presentations on a display by just attaching a single cable, while also getting improved audio for remote attendees.
Personally, I’m hoping HP takes the modular nature of the dock and runs with it. Why not have a version with a regular Bang & Olufsen speaker for music? Or one with Google Assistant or Alexa integration? What about a wireless Qi charger module? The sky’s the limit here, if HP is willing to look past more practical, enterprise-focused solutions.
Neither the HP Thunderbolt Dock G2 nor the Audio Module have prices or release dates yet, but presumably the company will have more to announce soon.