Intel hasn't, so far, managed to promote Thunderbolt much, but it might have just what it needs to get it all over the world as soon as the next batch of ultrabooks is ready, or so it thinks.
VR-Zone just reported that Intel intends to make sure that all ultrabooks starting 2012 onwards will support docking stations powered by the Thunderbolt connectivity standard.
This could be a hint that the Santa Clara Giant is meaning to turn Ultrabooks, or some of them at least, into business devices.
That would make some sense, seeing as how its overtures on the consumer front ended up stale.
Not that there is anything surprising in that. After all, Ultrabooks are unimpressive, with only thinness and low weight as advantages.
Their performance is underwhelming and they also cannot boast of having a better battery life (or even as good) as regular mobile PCs.
What Intel wants is for Ultrabooko makers to cram two things into the device's side: a large dock connector and a mini DsplayPort.
Manufacturers will get to choose what ports the dock will have, but Intel made some suggestions of its own, including HDMI via DP++, D-Sub via USB, eSATA via a PCI Express-based SATA controller, etc.
The chip giant also expects for a possibility of daisy chaining Thunderbolt devices onto the dock.
There are some limitations developers will have to wrestle with, unfortunately, and there doesn't seem to be room in Intel's plan for USB 3.0 docks either, despite SuperSpeed being much more affordable and popular, albeit slightly limited in a few areas.
That said, this latest project is questionable at best. It was already made clear that high prices are the primary reasons why Ultrabooks are selling poorly, so adding Thunderbolt docks on top of everything is rather counterintuitive (even Toshiba's new devices are a bit pricey).