Sony Leading the Way for Thunderbolt Fragmentation With New USB 3.0 Hybrid Port?Written by Rob Nichols on May 27, 2011 · Filed under Tech
Fragmentation is a term bandied about all too often these days, but since Android started doing the rounds as a popular mobile OS, it seems to be cropping up a little worryingly in all too many unwanted places.
According to a trusted source of Engadget, Sony has a round of new super-slim, super-lightweight notebooks in the pipeline, but that’s not the most interesting part. What’s more important, is the tip that the machines will sport a Thunderbolt port.
We all remember the official debut of Thunderbolt back in the latest MacBook Pro range as well as the new iMac’s, but this is the first news we’ve heard of the technology being implemented elsewhere. Of course, we know it is logically the next step forward with regards to data transfer specifically, amongst its other incredible uses.
However, that’s still not the most interesting part. In hindsight, it really shouldn’t have been unexpected, as Apple is one of the only companies that makes widespread use of the MiniDisplay Port adapter, but Sony, according to the images sourced on Engadget, is looking to make use of what looks like a USB 3.0 port (it’s a traditionally shaped USB port, but with the telltale sign of a blue strip along the top).
What does this mean? Surely this lack of standardisation is yet another example of where manufacturers can go dearly wrong in a bid to top Apple. Now, without meaning to sound like a total fanboy, (which I hasten to add that I’m not), if Sony is going to tackle Apple’s Thunderbolt implementation head on alone, then in my mind they have lost already, as the manufacturers of peripherals will undoubtedly side with Apple. Conversely, should all of the PC manufacturers hop on the bandwagon of the USB 3.0 implementation, then it’s a totally different ball game, and we could be in for a similar result to what we saw with the Firewire – USB battle in recent years.
This was, after all, the original plan for Intel, to implement it into the USB 3.0 technology being developed elsewhere. And we’ve known that eventually the Light Peak technology will be used widely on most new PC’s over the next few years. The biggest surprise to date, was the use of the MiniDisplay Port as the hybrid connector on the Mac’s, and with this news now emerging, it becomes all the more bizarre.
Interestingly, there is more to this new PC than meets the eye, even after you’ve spotted the Thunderbolt implementation. Apparently, it will ship with an external dock that connects via the Thunderbolt port, which includes another USB 3.0 jack, HDMI connectivity, Ethernet, and AMD discrete graphics as well as a Blu-ray writer. A strange twist on an ultra-mobile PC, surely.
Anyway, that’s besides the point. The point is, Thunderbolt fragmentation, and whilst there’s no living proof of its existence yet, it’s likely that Apple will end up on its lonesome in the world of MiniDisplay Port – Thunderbolt connectivity. And then we obviously have to make the assumption that we may not be seeing so many peripherals as Apple would have us believe for the Mac. And if I had just bought a new Mac, I might be just a little rattled by this rumour.
Watch this space very carefully, my friends. Very carefully indeed. More news on the actual PC as and when we get it, all we have so far is the leaked promotional shot.