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Intel is giving away its Thunderbolt 3 tech in search of wider adoption


Thunderbolt 3

Intel is planning to drop royalty fees for its Thunderbolt 3 technology, in hopes of broadening its adoption.

According to a Wired report, the protocol specification for the data-transfer technology will will be released under a non-exclusive license next year.

Part of the plans will see Thunderbolt 3 integrated into future CPUs, meaning less space will be needed on the Mac or PC's logic board. That will also remove the need for a Thunderbolt controller, Intel says.

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This will mean thinner and lighter devices, according to the firm, while more devices could benefit from Thunderbolt 3’s improved battery efficiency.

There could also be knock-on effects for the USB-C technology, which shares the same connector design. This move could see more and more manufacturers adopt USB-C as main charging and data transfer method.

By eliminating the costs of using Thunderbolt 3, manufacturers may now be more likely to adopt the USB-C standard, unburdened by licensing fees on Intel’s end.

Thunderbolt 3 is able to transfer data at 40Gbps, while it can also be used to power devices and peripherals like 4K monitors.

“We think the first thing is going to drive broader adoption and deployment of Thunderbolt 3 in PCs,” says Jason Ziller, Intel’s lead for Thunderbolt development.

“The second will drive also broader adoption in the ecosystem, with a lot of different peripherals and other devices.”

Will making Thunderbolt 3 free to use boost adoption? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


May 25, 2017, 12:08 pm

The problem with Thunderbolt has been the encryption used is not available on anything but Apple/Microsoft. If they open the encryption spec as well, then it'll be useful. Otherwise, it'll be a closed box POS that's worthless on Linux/Unix/Anything that isn't your Grandma's/Tweenie bopper's computer. Those ports are currently dead weight for no benefit on Linux machines. If they don't do this, it will die on the vine along with all the other schemes these companies have shat into the computing architecture. Servers don't run OSX and Windows 10, unless they're run by morons.

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