Going Wireless: Transition Underway To Completely Cable-Free
A steady transition is underway by industry to wireless solutions and cable-free devices, with the market to see fewer connectivity types and ports per device, according to ABI Research.
Physical ports, however, will remain for the foreseeable future, with ABI forecasting that USB Type-C connectivity will feature in almost half of smartphones and 93 per cent of laptops by 2020.
“USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3.0 will be the last major physical ports to gain major significance and mainstream traction before the transition to wireless alternatives,” Andrew Zignani, ABI industry analyst, commented.
“During this period, a number of devices will operate without any cabled connectivity, and while this will remain a nascent portion of the market for some time, the potential is there and heightening.”
In the laptop and docking space, WiGig (802.11ad) has already gained some traction, ABI notes, with it currently enabled on some Dell, Acer and Asus notebooks and docks shipping this year, with ABI data suggesting that its first real mainstream opportunities in access points, devices and accessories will occur in late-2016.
WiGig momentum is then likely to build across other device categories, including portable PCs and peripherals, smartphones, tablets and displays.
A large portion of the market, however, will not migrate towards cable-free devices in the short-term, including high-performance categories and enterprise notebooks requiring the ability to connect to different legacy infrastructures, while ABI notes that wired and wireless connectivity solutions are not mutually exclusive, being in many respects complementary.
“We anticipate there to be WiGig-enabled devices that use physical cables, such as the USB Type-C, for charging or to assist in dealing with legacy equipment when not at home or when wireless connectivity is not available,” Zignani stated.
“It will take some time for WiGig-enabled displays, projectors, televisions and accessories to come to market, so many devices will still need to have the option of a physical connection through USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3.0 for the foreseeable future.”