Tiny Bluetooth Dongles Set Me Free

Without the USB connector this device wouldn’t be much bigger than a multivitamin.

I bought a set of Bluetooth headphones to use with my laptop and iPhone when traveling. No cord seems the way to go. I’ll write more about the headphones themselves when I get them charged and running.

Meanwhile, the headphones were $29.99 alone or $29.98 with a USB Bluetooth adapter. Duh! Today the vendor has seen the error of their ways and added free shipping to the ‘more expensive’ package.

usb bluetooth dongle.jpgIt’s the USB Bluetooth adapter I want to briefly talk about. That’s what’s in the photo on the left.

As small as it looks, and it is tiny, the metallic part is just the connector. It’s mainly hollow. The electronic guts are all inside the black piece!

That minuscule sliver of plastic contains a radio transceiver, antenna, diplexer, and the computing power to run the show! It separates and sends multiple datastreams, audio, signaling and control.

Are you kidding me? That’s crazy.

So often our perception of the miniaturization of electronics is based on the packages we see, but they are often artificially large because we control them with our fingers. Too small and they’re useless!

Without the USB connector this device wouldn’t be much bigger than a multivitamin.

This little dongle isn’t doing much more than replacing a wire and plug and freeing the headphone wearer to move around a little. The big deal is it’s cheap enough to make replacing that wire no big deal.

Expect to see more (or actually see less, but experience more) of this miniaturization making electronic control practical in smaller and cheaper devices–places where we historically don’t expect them.

We live in truly amazing times.