Belkin unveils new Thunderbolt Express Dock at CES
Belkin's Thunderbolt Express Dock allows multiple peripherals to be connected via a single cable
Despite being introduced almost a year ago on Apple's MacBook Pro lineup, the Thunderbolt interface hasn't really seen as much love from peripheral makers as we would have expected. While there have been a few Thunderbolt-equipped peripherals hitting the market, it's been more of a trickle than a flood. Belkin is no doubt also hoping the range of Thunderbolt devices will increase in the near future to make it's upcoming Thunderbolt Express Dock, which was unveiled today at CES, a more compelling purchase.
Belkin appears to have been to the industrial designers after displaying a unit with the same name but a different form factor at the 2011 Intel Developer Forum last September. The earlier design appeared to feature three USB ports, a FireWire port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a second, front-facing Thunderbolt port, while the device making its debut at CES boasts three USB 2.0 ports (how we would have loved to see USB 3.0), a Firewire 800 port, an HDMI port, a 3.5 mm audio port, a gigabit Ethernet port and two Thunderbolt ports - one upstream and one downstream - for daisy-chaining other Thunderbolt devices.
The dock provides data transfer rates of up to 10 Gbps bi-directionally and is designed to make it easy for MacBook and Ultrabook users to come back to their desk after a day out and plug into multiple peripherals via a single cable.
Unfortunately we'll have to wait a little while longer for such convenience as Belkin won't be releasing the Thunderbolt Express Dock until September this year. It also wont be cheap, being priced at US$299.
About the Author
Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.
All articles by Darren Quick
Too expensive, no wonder Thunderbolt has not spread well yet when USB 3 will be free when buying new computers and smart phones shortly.
$299 for the dock in Sep 2012 without USB 3.0 ? I don\'t think so.
$300 ? really? they must be dreaming...this thing will never sell, there are too many other viable options that are more than 50% cheaper
My old(er) Macs had \"Scuzzy\" SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) which was far superior and faster compared to USB, but not \"Hot Swappable\". It also was not compatible with Wintel machines and much more expensive. It died, shall we say when Firewire came out. It will be interesting to see what happens, as time marches on, with or without us, but, unless the price point comes down significantly, I don\'t predict a rosy future for this latest whiz-bang wrinkle.
Myron J. Poltroonian
Methinks you don't have any idea what Thunderbolt is. It will also "be free when buying new computers." In fact, it already is free when buying any new Macbook or iMac. And you have a short memory. Thunderbolt isn't widespread yet because most companies are still working on their products. Apple had a one year headstart on the other PC makers because they helped Intel develop Thunderbolt, but Thunderbolt-equipped PCs are definitely coming this year. Lest you forget, USB peripherals were also rare and expensive in the late 1990s, until Apple decided to make USB ports standard on their newest Macs and opened the floodgates. And in terms of sheer performance, Thunderbolt leaves USB 3.0 in the dust. That's not even taking advantage of upcoming optical Thunderbolt connections. Thunderbolt is still a young technology. Intel has a roadmap all the way up to 50Gbps for that in just the next few years. It's probably safe to say USB isn't likely to get much faster.
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