updated 09:35 am EDT, Tue May 17, 2011
Could hurt adoption as standard
PC maker HP is, at least for the time being, choosing USB 3.0 over Thunderbolt, according to IDG News. "We did look at [Thunderbolt]. We're still looking into it. Haven't found a value proposition yet," says HP's worldwide marketing manager for desktops, Xavier Lauwaert. Whereas USB 3.0 is backwards-compatible with most USB devices, Thunderbolt is only compatible with native, PCIe and DisplayPort hardware.
The standard is a creation of Apple and Intel, and has so far been restricted to Apple computers. Even now only two Mac lines, the iMac and MacBook Pro, actually have Thunderbolt ports. Consequentially the number of Thunderbolt peripherals has been relatively limited; a variety have been announced but have yet to ship.
Intel is working on chipsets supporting both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt, but these will only starting appearing next year. Thunderbolt development should meanwhile open up to non-Apple computer makers this quarter. HP's absence could slow or harm the new standard's adoption, as the company represents a sizable portion of the Windows PC market, which dwarfs Mac sales.