Intel to Support Both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt in 2012 'Ivy Bridge' Platform

123917 superspeed usb thunderbolt

CNET reports that Intel has publicly committed to supporting both USB 3.0 and the company's new Thunderbolt connectivity standard developed in cooperation with Apple on its forthcoming "Ivy Bridge" platform due for introduction next year.

"Intel is going to support USB 3.0 in the 2012 client platform. We're going to support Thunderbolt capability. We believe they're complementary," said Kirk Skaugen, a vice president at the Intel Architecture Group, speaking at Intel's developer conference in Beijing today. The event was streamed over the Web.

The "2012 client platform" that Skaugen referred to is known more commonly by the code name "Ivy Bridge," which is the family of chips that will follow the "Sandy Bridge" processors shipping in PCs today.

USB 3.0 offers ten times the speed of current USB technology, but has not yet been embraced in Intel's current platforms, leaving USB 3.0 compatibility a fairly rare feature for most Intel-based computers given the need to rely on a separate part from NEC rather than having it built directly into Intel's silicon.

Intel is still encouraging peripherals developers to embrace Thunderbolt, which can support data and video on a single cable and made its debut in Apple's new MacBook Pros introduced earlier this year. Notably, Apple was recently granted a patent for a new iOS device dock connector that could support both Thunderbolt/DisplayPort and USB 3.0 connectivity, as well as the existing USB 2.0 standard.

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