Intel have said that developer kits for Thunderbolt will be available this quarter, meaning we could see a raft of new devices entering retail, based on this interconnect technology.
Thunderbolt was first announced on February 24th and is currently only offered by industry leader Apple in their new Macbook Pro laptops, which were launched on the same day. Intel have worked with Apple on developing the interconnect.
Developer kits are a big step into opening up market adoption and ensuring that more partners include the technology on their upcoming computers. Thunderbolt is a dual channel, high speed interconnect that can transfer data between host devices and external devices at speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second. The technology enables a full length, high definition movies to be transferred in less than 30 seconds. Additionally, synchronisation of high bandwidth audio and video between computers can be handled in real time.
Intel haven’t been resting on the deal with Apple however, as they are working with other partners to develop products. Western Digital and LaCie have already showcased portable storage products but are not yet selling any of them. Canon have announced their support for the interconnect, with Matrox, Sonnet, BlackMagic and AJA also showing products at the NAB Trade show at Las Vegas.
Sony have also backed Thunderbolt, but haven’t highlighted any plans to implement it yet into laptops. Hewlett Packard are evaluating Thunderbolt for implementation into their range of computers, according to a company spokesperson.
Thunderbolt currently supports both PCI Express and DisplayPort protocols and could mean a reduction in the number of connectors needed to attach peripherals such as monitors and storage devices to computers. Many have said that it could replace USB 3.0 completely, but Intel have been forceful in saying that the technologies are ‘complimentary’.
KitGuru says: Apple first to market, with more to follow