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Thunderbolt To Overtake USB As Connection Of Choice

Intel’s flash-fast connection technology Thunderbolt has not yet overtaken USB as the port of choice.

But the winds of change are blowing, as more manufacturers are incorporating this fierce competitor into their latest computers. Could this finally be Thunderbolt’s time to shine?

Intel’s Jason Ziller, who runs the company’s connectivity division, expects a major migration to the alternative technology.

“I would expect by 2022 Thunderbolt will be in more than 50 per cent of the PCs sold,” he predicts, saying that more than half of laptops that ship in the next year will “definitely” carry the technology.

Intel isn’t detailing its Thunderbolt plans for the moment. But Ziller says the company will make Thunderbolt faster and easier to use.

“Simplicity, reliability and performance are all important,” he says.

How could Thunderbolt knock USB from its throne? The mainstream connection is used everywhere you go, even on public transport. More recent USB-C connectors and the USB Power Delivery standard have enabled it to power big-battery devices like laptops or connect high-speed devices like external drives.

But Intel’s Thunderbolt isn’t attempting to overthrow USB in the universal and inescapable stakes.

Instead, Thunderbolt aims to exist in harmonious conjunction with USB. Thunderbolt benefited by adopting the USB-C connector, which means PC makers can support Thunderbolt without sacrificing port space.

Thunderbolt also benefits from USB. The new USB 4 incorporates Thunderbolt data-transfer technology to make it more powerful and flexible. That’s good news for Thunderbolt users who might need to plug a device into a USB port.

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