Took us long enough to get here. A week ago we saw a concept for a USB connector designed to make it easier to recognize the right side of a USB cord. That’s a good idea, but Buffalo’s solution is way better. The company’s BSH4U17PK 4-port USB hub [JP] doesn’t care about silly things like orientation and will mate with a USB cord even if you plug the latter in with the wrong side up.
Actually Buffalo’s solution is quite similar to a product we saw about 2 years ago, the Flipper USB. But while the Flipper improved the USB connector attached to devices, Buffalo did the work on the port end.
The BSH4U17PK 4-port USB hub is set to go on sale in Japan for ¥1280 (~$16 USD). No word when it’ll be released worldwide, but if computer manufacturers are smart and merciful this should become the standard going forward. *Update Geekstuff4U now has the USB hub in stock, albeit with a very significant price hike – it’s being sold for about $50 (USD).*