By Preston Gossett | Arts & Life Editor
Baylor student Jake Ward is still in the beginning stages of planning and organizing his business idea of a dongle holder (Dongle Buddy). He’s in the promising stage of talking with a plastics manufacturer about making it more than just a prototype.
The Bloomington, Ill. junior is working on a product that holds the phone dongle because he believes the dongle is an extremely easy phone accessory to lose.
“It’s truly innovative and could truly hit a market that has been developing in the last four years, which is the phone case accessories,” Ward said. “Putting logos on it, like the personalized pop sockets — I think is what makes it a lasting idea.”
In January, Ward’s vision for the Dongle Buddy came to life on a piece of printer paper that later turned into a 3D design of his prototype.
Ward said being at Baylor caused him to start seeing things with an innovative twist.
“I think just being in college you have to solve new problems, and I think it made me more open-minded and solution-oriented,” Ward said.
Ward is selling the Dongle Buddy for $6 and is relying heavily on social media and satisfactory word-of-mouth exchanges. He has also been reaching out to colleges and companies about putting the school’s symbol or the company’s logo on it in a similar way that Baylor passes out phone wallets with the various clubs and organizations on campus.”
According to Wccf (Where Consumers Come First) tech, a leading technology publication, a recent report from Ceros said dongles have been the best-selling Apple product at Best Buy since the second business quarter of 2017. Even with AirPods emerging as the top-selling individual product since the second business quarter of 2018, dongles maintain their position as the product bringing in the most revenue.
“With the release of its iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, Apple parted ways with the 3.5mm headphone jack and this decision did not bode well with a lot of customers,” according to Wccftech’s website. “It has now made the $9 dongle the best-selling Apple product at Best Buy.”
Ward said this report offers an interesting perspective because just in case anyone is skeptical when it comes to buying his product or not, the research shows that there is a market for this.
Ward said that this definitely means that having a dongle holder easily accessible (like on the back of someone’s phone) will prevent people from losing or misplacing them because it’s not currently an available product.
“Either way, success or not, I’m still going to try,” Ward said. “But if I succeed, then I can say that I ran a successful Kickstarter and it [proves] that people can trust me and that I can deliver.”
Ward has a provisional patent for his product, which he said is a 12-month grace period until he has to file a real patent.
Also a Bloomington, Ill., resident and a friend of Ward, Brianna Pinter helped him print his prototype using 3D printer technology. Pinter said the process is relatively simple, especially with the exact measurements of the dongle.
“Jake had a really interesting idea once we printed the very first prototype,” Pinter said. “He wanted the [Dongle Buddy] to be compatible with different phone models and providers, so he went into the model and measured the width of the longer dongle and adjusted accordingly.”
She made a replica in the 3D atmosphere, ensuring it wasn’t going to be too bulky or take up too much of the phone back’s space.
“I’m really just looking for that one thing to make it take off,” Ward said.