The Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) keynote during Computex 2015 had a strong focus on IoT, but there were also a number of interesting announcements that weren’t as prominently featured. The biggest takeaway from the keynote was Intel’s announcement that it was pivoting Thunderbolt to be compatible with USB-C.
“Thunderbolt 3 is computer port nirvana – delivering two 4K displays, fast data, and quick notebook charging”, said Navin Shenoy, vice president in Client Computing Group and general manager of Mobility Client Platforms at Intel Corporation in a blog post. “It fulfills the promise of USB-C for single-cable docking and so much more. OEMs and device developers are going to love it.”
Intel is framing the narrative as bringing USB-C to Thunderbolt. Not the death of Thunderbolt. Ever since it was announced last year, USB-C has captured the interest of vendors and the public. After Intel announced Thunderbolt 3, many were wondering how it could compete with the cheaper, more popular USB-C protocol.
Granted as Thunderbolt is still faster, there will still be a niche demand for the connectivity standard. The Thunderbolt 3/USB-C cables will still be able to achieve a much higher throughput, ramping up to 40Gbps when required (the only differentiating mark being the Thunderbolt logo on the top). However, USB-C only cables will not be able to achieve the same throughput.