USB and Thunderbolt to converge

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USB and Thunderbolt to converge

The next generation of Universal Serial Bus (USB) input/output connectors will based on the Intel/Apple designed Thunderbolt protocol, while retaining backwards compatibility with existing devices.

USB4 will provide double the bandwidth and reach up to 40 Gbps with two-lane operation and over cables certified to handle the high speed, the USB Promoter Group said.

It will be able to provide multiple data and display protocols, and use USB Type-C cables, with 50 companies taking in part in working out the full specification that is on track to be released in the middle of this year.

As part of the convergence, Intel said it has released the Thunderbolt specification to the USB Promoter Group, which will let other chip makers build silicon that's compatible with the I/O technology without paying royalties.

Intel said at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year that it will integrate Thunderbolt into its processor range.

The integration will start with the upcoming 10 nanometre "Ice Lake" processors, due out in the coming months.

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