The ShareCentral is a 5-port USB hub that allows two computers to share USB devices without a network. Just plug the devices in the $80 hub, plug the hub into both computers, and you can use your mouse, keyboard, hard drive or whatever on either computer with the flick of a switch. Best of all, it knows which computer is trying to print and automatically switches the printer to that machine, like a network device. It also comes in 1- and 2-port varieties, $40 and $60 respectively, full release after the jump. [Kensington]
Kensington® ShareCentral(TM) Brings Greater Convenience and Ease to
Home Computing Shared Tasks
Innovative Device Lets Families Share Projects among Computers
and USB Peripherals – With Just the Press of a Button
Redwood Shores, Calif. – June 16, 2008 – Kensington Computer Products Group, a worldwide leader in delivering smart made simple(TM) computing accessories for the mobile consumer, today announced ShareCentral, an innovative USB peripheral sharing device for the home that lets family members instantly and effortlessly share up to five USB peripheral devices between any two computers with an easy press of a button. ShareCentral brings the cords and cables of external devices into one small, attractive desktop or wall mounted unit, allowing people to share their choice of peripherals and content in one easy fingertip motion, with no network required.
Recent Kensington research conducted by Markettools showed that more than 40% of households have 3 – 4 computers in their home belonging to different family members. A full 70% of these households have a dedicated computing space equipped with a stationary computer, as well as a variety of peripherals, that are shared by the whole family. These multiple-computer families have a screaming need to be able to easily share access to the peripherals they use the most including printers (50%), scanners (30%) and external disks drives (22%) so they can turn work, homework, photos and music gathered on notebooks, flash drives and iPod music players into polished, finished work meant for sharing with others.
"ShareCentral is a great example of our smart made simple design philosophy," said Frederic Frappereau, Global Product Marketing Manager at Kensington. "Everyone is mobile. Then they bring the day's data, photos and music back to one shared, usually cramped, home computing center which the entire family needs to access in those few hours between dinnertime and bedtime. Up until now, they spent that precious time switching out cords and cables to connect their computers to their peripherals. Now with ShareCentral, they can focus on sharing the content, to produce creative results of which they all can be proud."
Key features include
• Share up to five different USB peripherals – Instantly share access to multiple USB peripherals between two computers at the press of a button. Users gain instant access to their USB peripherals by plugging one simple USB cable into their computers. LED lights on the product indicate which computer has access.
• Easy to set up, simple and straightforward – ShareCentral is easy to set up and easy to use with no network or software required. Plug–n–play right out of the box!
• No more cord clutter – ShareCentral eliminates cable mess by connecting device cables into a central desktop unit; also wall mountable.
• Easy printer sharing –Simply press a button to switch the USB printer from one computer to another. ShareCentral 2 and ShareCentral 5 Automatic Print Sharing will detect and automatically switch to the computer that is trying to print, conveniently eliminating the need for any buttons to be pressed (available for Windows® XP and Windows Vista®).
• Adaptable and personal – All USB ports are independently controlled by a button and assignable to either computer. Each button comes with interchangeable magnetic keycaps for personalization to user's device and specifications.
The ShareCentral Collection
ShareCentral 5 (SKU K33901US) – No more plugging and unplugging computer devices. With Kensington ShareCentral 5, two computers can share a printer, hard drive, scanner-up to any five USB peripherals – and switch between them with the touch of a button. Suggested Retail Price $79.99
ShareCentral 2 (SKU K33900US) – With the Kensington ShareCentral 2, two computers can share a printer, hard drive, scanner-any two USB devices. Suggested Retail Price $59.99
ShareCentral 1 (SKU K33903US) – With the Kensington ShareCentral 1, two computers can share a printer or any USB device. Suggested Retail Price $39.99
The Kensington ShareCentral Collection is now available for pre-order at Amazon.com and Kensington.com and will be available at major retailers at the end of the month.