Sharing USB devices is about to get a lot simpler thanks to a new hub powered by technology from chip developer SMSC, which will allow two computers to access up to four shared devices without the need to set up a local area network. Called the MultiSwitch hub, this device creates a proprietary behind-the-scenes network, allowing USB-equipped printers, cameras, hard drives, and other peripherals to be accessed by any combination of desktop, laptop, HTPC, or game console -- with both machines able to interact with the devices simultaneously, according to the developer. PC OEMs are supposedly working on MultiSwitch-enabled chips for distribution this fall, with the resulting consumer electronics products expected to hit stores early next year.

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