The term endpoint device (or end point device) refers to “a hardware device that lies at one end of a data path that begins or ends at an application program.” Examples of audio endpoint devices are speakers, headsets, microphones, and CD players. The audio information that travels along this data path might cross a number of software and hardware components when it travels between the program and endpoint device. Although these components are vital to the operation of the endpoint device, they’re generally invisible to the user (unless you’re Superman and can see through the metal chassis). Those who use them normally think in terms of endpoint devices that they directly work with rather than in terms of the audio adapters that the endpoint devices plug into or of the software components that process the information that flows to and from these adapters.
Some endpoint devices might connect permanently to an adapter device. For example, a computer could have devices such as a CD player, a microphone, or speakers that are integrated into the system chassis. Typically, they are not removed. Other endpoint devices might connect to an audio adapter through audio jacks, the user plugging and unplugging these external devices. For example, an audio endpoint device, such as an external microphone or headset, has a cable whose other end plugs into a jack on an adapter device.
Most new operating systems have jack sensing capabilities, wherein the operating system does all the work necessary to identify and enable the endpoint device. So, what endpoint devices are now available that combine input and output capabilities, allowing you to control both from one endpoint device. Plantronics, the leader in innovative headset design, has a wide array of headsets to meet all your computing needs from the simple plug-n-play headset to high-quality dictation headsets, to wireless and even Bluetooth. Check them out at Headsets Direct.