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Tough Intel licensing slowing Thunderbolt gear, vendors say

updated 04:00 pm EST, Tue January 15, 2013

Intel claims limited resources for approving accessories

Licensing issues at Intel are keeping the number of Thunderbolt accessories low, says ArsTechnica. Although more accessories should be en route soon, several vendors claim that Intel has been picking a relative handful of companies to work with in order to ensure products meet certification demands. Intel is denying the suggestion that it might be "cherry-picking" vendors, but acknowledges it has a limited amount of resources for approving new products.

Jason Ziller, the company's director of Thunderbolt marketing and planning, says that licensing should expand to a larger number of vendors this year. Thunderbolt first debuted on the MacBook Pro in March 2011. For several months Apple was the only computer maker using the standard, and the company remains Thunderbolt's main champion. Some Windows PCs have begun to adopt the technology as well, but USB 3.0 remains a more common connection type.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. macmediausa

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 02-23-05

    Thunderbolt will die faster than firewire did. Both are great technologies but USB will continue to be the king because it's cheap and it's used by everyone. By purposely holding back the vendors they're just hastening the demise of this. I will not pay $200 extra just to have a faster Thunderbolt connection on a hard drive. I can use USB 3 for less than half the price and it's plenty speedy.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    FireWire is in no way dead.

    It is well and alive, and virtually the entire audio and video industries are running happily off it.

    Thunderbolt will be/is being happily embraced by those markets, and will thrive.

    I'm fine with Intel making sure that the initial run of products doesn't cheapen the standard by being total shit.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Spheric is, as usual, right. Thunderbolt is not aimed at consumers, it is aimed at pros. And among pros, it is seen as the logical successor to Firewire and will -- over time, particularly when the price finally comes down -- see similar widespread adoption. Personally I think Apple and Intel are being quite crafty about this, keeping it "pro class only" with premium pricing for a while. Don't forget Intel also owns USB 3.0. There's a method in their "madness."

  1. macmediausa

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 02-23-05

    Firewire isn't dead for me either but according to Apple and most users, it is.. Just take a look at the peripherals out there. None of the new gadgets have used firewire for at least a couple of years or more. The video industries that use this are using OLD products. None of the new stuff use it (I am involved in Broadcast video myself).
    And yes, I do believe Thunderbolt is aimed at Pros but if you make it too expensive or too difficult to get, not enough manufacturers will invest in porting it over to their products Thunderbolt has been out for almost 2 years and virtually NO high end equipment manufacturer uses it. In fact I don't know any except a couple of high end raid chassis. Certainly no broadcast video equipment has climbed aboard. I bet 98% or greater of all the Macs that have this port has never seen a Thunderbolt cable attached to their computer. One of my Imacs that has this port; the computer is almost outdated by now which means it was totally useless to put the port on there. It's sad and outrageous

    It's almost similar to Optical Audio cables and connectors. Super expensive in the beginning, almost no support for years and now it has been superceded by different technology (I'm transferring audio via USB - full digital).

    Why keep this great tech in the dark??? Better for them to license the heck out of it cheaply and due to shear volume collect much more fees than to keep it for the few rich ones..

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Optical is widely used in Audio. The ADAT standard is optical S/PDIF, and it is ubiquitous.

    All pro audio interfaces are FireWire, and some are now appearing with Thunderbolt.

  1. caribousteaks

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-11-04

    I find it sad Intel has such a backwards view of submitting this technology to the masses. I use thunderbolt daily on a large RAID system but am dismayed at the price point it is offered and the extremely limited number of peripherals offering it. I only see its gradual demise as something else takes over. USB 3 is plenty fast for most users but its really the point of it all. A great technology that will make everyones life better, faster, more efficient, held back only by some myopic marketing view that folks are not good enough for it. So if Steve had not demanded start up times be halved would we still be thinking it ok and normal to wait 3-4 minutes for the desktop to appear? It seems some readers and Intels mentality to this is, yes, we should. By choosing this price point and clearly cherry picking vendors Intel simply says to the masses, we really dont care about you or your computing experience. We care about our profit and thats it. I feel this will backfire and the great technology that is thunderbolt will fail before its started. All for not.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    It won't. The mass market will never see it, but that's not whom it's built for.

  1. The Vicar

    Junior Member

    Joined: 07-01-09

    Originally Posted by macmediausaView Post

    It's almost similar to Optical Audio cables and connectors. Super expensive in the beginning, almost no support for years and now it has been superceded by different technology (I'm transferring audio via USB - full digital).



    You won't see USB used in ANY professional audio setup -- at least, not in any setup where the "professional" part is specifically attached to the "audio" part; I'm sure you can find lots of professional game developers or whatever using USB -- because USB makes no guarantees about avoiding transmission hiccups. Your USB equipment can drop quite substantial amounts of data and still be performing up to spec. Not so with FireWire or Thunderbolt.

  1. blahblahbber

    Banned

    Joined: 02-01-05

    CONTROL = TOTAL DOMINATION AND POWER

    What else is there to say?

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by The VicarView Post

    USB makes no guarantees about avoiding transmission hiccups. Your USB equipment can drop quite substantial amounts of data and still be performing up to spec.



    Exactly. Bandwidth alone doesn't mean anything in media production if there's no way to verify timing-critical delivery.

    Have they done anything in USB3 to rectify this?

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by blahblahbberView Post

    CONTROL = TOTAL DOMINATION AND POWER

    What else is there to say?



    Everything else discussed in this thread.

    You know, actually relevant information.

    Thanks for playing, though. It's nice to know the monkeys are still throwing peanuts from the gallery.

    (I kid, I kid — I like peanuts. :) )

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