Intel Takes Steps to Enable Thunderbolt 3 Everywhere, Releases Protocol
Intel is well on its way to making the innovation delivered with Thunderbolt 3 available to everyone. The company announced that it contributed the protocol specification to the USB Promoter Group, enabling other chip makers to build compatible silicon, royalty-free.
In addition, the USB Promoter Group announced the pending release of the USB4 specification, based on the Thunderbolt protocol. The convergence of the underlying Thunderbolt and USB protocols will increase compatibility among USB Type-C connector-based products, simplifying how people connect their devices.
“Releasing the Thunderbolt protocol specification is a significant milestone for making today’s simplest and most versatile port available to everyone. This, in combination with the integration of Thunderbolt 3 into upcoming Intel processors is a win-win for the industry and consumers,” said Jason Ziller, general manager, Client Connectivity Division at Intel.
Previously, Intel shared plans to integrate Thunderbolt 3 into future CPUs and to release the protocol specification to the industry. Their upcoming 10nm processor code-named “Ice Lake” will be the first to integrate Thunderbolt 3. Processor integration, combined with today’s announcement, is expected to drive large-scale, mainstream adoption.
Industry adoption of Thunderbolt 3 is accelerating. It 3 is fully supported in Windows 10, macOS and Linux, volumes of PCs with these ports continue to double every year into the tens of millions and all the latest Macs have Thunderbolt 3 ports. More than 400 PC designs have been enabled with Thunderbolt 3. Peripheral device volumes also continue to double annually with more than 450 certified devices from a wide number of product categories, including docks, displays, storage and external graphics.