Intel Mulls Thunderbolt Requirement for Ultrabook Label

Paul Lilly

The only way you're getting a system with Intel's Thunderbolt interface at the moment is to venture over to the dark side and pick up one of the supported Mac models. Don't want to go that route? Your only other option is to hang tight until Thunderbolt strikes Windows PCs, which could start with Intel's upcoming Ultrabook form factor.

In an interview with CNet, Greg Welch, Director of Strategic Planning for Intel's Mobile Platforms Group, talked in depth about the chip maker's upcoming Ultrabook platform. In regards to Thunderbolt, Welch said Intel hasn't yet made a final decision on whether to make the spec a requirement for the Ultrabook label, or simply recommend that notebook manufacturers include it.

"We're still working with OEM customers on exactly when and how to think about Thunderbolt," Welch explains. "But you can certainly imagine many Ultrabooks will embrace it. It enables much more responsive systems when working with peripherals as well as slimmer designs because you can aggregate a lot of the I/O into one bus that supports video graphics, USB 3.0."

A recurring theme in the interview was cost, though it wasn't really discussed directly. But in talking about the materials, for example, Welch points out that "machined aluminum is great but it isn't cheap." That means you're likely to see fiberglass, carbon fiber, and metal reinforced plastics, at least for the first few rounds of Ultrabooks.

Intel would also like to implement lithium polymer batteries like the kind you find in cell phones, but admits "economic hurdles" stand in the way.

You can check out the full interview here .

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