Thunderbolt: The Next Intel Success Story Or A Lot Of Smoke-Blowing?

Thunderbolt: The Next Intel Success Story Or A Lot Of Smoke-Blowing?

Intel's new multi-purpose cable should be taking the tech world by storm, but are people more interested in a wireless revolution?

Dory Carr-Harris, PSFK
  • 28 february 2011

Yesterday, Intel launched what they’re celebrating as a breakthrough simplification in cable technology. Called the Thunderbolt, this one cable will be able to connect all your various devices to one another. Computer to TV to external hardrive to laptop. The cable will debut with Apple’s new line of MacBooks, but of course, Intel wants it to become the industry standard, and why not?

The main counterpoint to the excitement over the multi-use cord is that it may be heralded as a step in the right direction, but perhaps not one that’s far enough. Why do we even still need cords? Shouldn’t R&D money be put toward making further strides into the world of wireless?

It’s true that wired data currently transfers faster, at a speed of about ten gigabits per second as opposed to the quickest wireless rate of just under one gigabit per second. But the benefits of not having to deal with a nest of cords, powerbars, or being tethered to a certain location by cord-length, might make up for that extra bit of speed. And who’s to say that that deficiet can’t be made up with a little design and tech ingenuity?

The game is now on between compatible wired connections, and increasingly fast wireless connections to see who can gain the largest market share the fastest. Who will be victorious?

Read more: Slate: “Wiring in a Wireless Age”


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