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

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.

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