Definitely something to look out for if a new laptop is in your future this year.
Thunderbolt is something we’ve been pretty excited about for a while – As some have pointed out, the ability to plug multiple things into the one port could be very handy on a laptop. Not to mention the transfer speeds which outclass USB 3.0, making it ideal if you’re shuffling HD video files around.
We finally spotted a Thunderbolt port on a PC motherboard recently, but the reality is that the technology is far from mainstream outside of Apple products.
Which is why we were interested to hear that “a hundred” Thunderbolt devices are expected to be on the market by the end of the year. The comment was made this week in this 52-minute Intel presentation at the IDF event going on in Beijing, by VP of the Intel PC Client Group Kirk Skaugen.
“We have dozens already in the marketplace, things like storage devices. But we’re actually on track to deliver approximately a hundred different devices by the end of the year, and by the time we get into 2013, hundreds of different Thunderbolt devices,” Skaugen said.
We’ve been expecting Thunderbolt to appear on some Ultrabooks this year, something that Skaugen also alluded to: “We expect several of these Ultrabook systems now to actually build and integrate Thunderbolt connectors in.”
Skaugen pointed out that the height of some laptops are now starting to be limited by the physical size of VGA connectors. Thunderbolt will in theory let designers squeeze the chasiss even more. And as some have pointed out, Thunderbolt allows multiple connections via one port – handy in a laptop.
Which will all sound great on the brochure, but as we’ve pointed out, what’s great in theory may not be cost effective in practice at the moment.
If your laptop is beginning to act its age, keep in mind that Skaugen said Intel will launch 3rd generation Intel Core processor in “just a few weeks”, although that may just mean the rumoured April 29th quad core launch. He went on to say that there are 21 Ultrabooks in existence with Intel 2nd generation Core chips, with more than 75 in development.