Peripheral makers get ready for Thunderbolt



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28 February 2011 | 0

Apple’s new line of Macbook Pro laptops may have introduced the world to a new data transfer technology, but it’s far from a surefire hit. Capable of transfer rates up to 10Gb/s, Intel’s Thunderbolt technology will only success if peripheral manufacturers get on board with it. Given the ubiquity of USB connections and the anticipated arrival of USB 3.0, that may prove a much harder task than originally envisioned.

A smattering of companies have already unveiled products aimed at making the most of Thunderbolt. A few others that Macworld spoke to aren’t revealing their plans just yet, though they did express interest in what the new technology has to offer.

Intel and Apple had barely broken the news of Thunderbolt’s arrival when RAID storage supplier Promise Technology announced its own plans for the connectivity standard. The company praised Thunderbolt’s speed and “amazing flexibility for connectivity to high performance peripherals”.

Hard drive maker LaCie was also prepared for Intel’s Thunderbolt announcement, unveiling a new version of Little Big Disk with Thunderbolt support. While the company didn’t respond to a request for comment by the time of publication, a press release announcing the product says the external hard drive was created with mobile and media professionals in mind and that it’s designed to take advantage of Thunderbolt’s impressive transfer rates with the large audio and video files it stores.




Other peripheral makers haven’t disclosed specific plans for Thunderbolt. Western Digital has yet to publicly announce a Thunderbolt-compatible product, though public relations manager Heather Skinner spoke highly of the technology.

“We have the tech in-house and are staging it now”, Skinner said. “Whatever the customers embrace, we want to support it, and Thunderbolt is something we’re looking at and working on.”

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