Intel investigating proprietary dock connector for 2012 Ultrabooks

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Intel is reportedly planning to release a proprietary connector that will work alongside its Thunderbolt technology to allow for advanced docking stations for the chipmakers' ultrabook design specifications.



The world's largest chipmaker unveiled its ultrabook category of thin-and=light notebooks, but the company's hardware partners have struggled to build "no-compromise" machines that match Intel's requirements and pricing. Intel is aiming for sub-$1,000 ultrabook prices and form factors less than 20mm thick.



VR-Zone claims to have received information that Intel is looking to give ultrabooks a boost with a docking station standard for the design.



"In simple terms, Intel is suggesting that the notebook makers should fit a rather large dock connector plus a mini DisplayPort connector side by side to make it easy to attach a dock or a port replicator via either a cable or a side mounted latch mechanism of some kind," the report read.



Intel is reportedly suggesting that PC makers include "a mini DisplayPort connector, HDMI via DP++, a D-sub connector via USB, a built in USB controller that will connect to USB ports and audio, eSATA via a PCI Express based SATA controller and just about anything else you can think of that needs PCI Express connectivity."









The company is also said to have suggested the option of daisy chaining Thunderbolt devices from the dock, though such a feature would likely increase costs and limit which Thunderbolt chips could be used.



In addition to the dual port solution, the report claims Intel is also considering custom dock connectors, similar to a docking solution released earlier this year by Sony. The VAIO Z uses a proprietary port and Thunderbolt technology to connect with a docking station peripheral that includes an optical drive and dedicated graphics processor.



As for USB 3.0, the report believes Intel has given the standard "the thumbs down" for now. "Intel is calling USB 3.0 a poor option for docking stations when it comes to adding features such as display interfaces and for tunnelling certain protocols through it," the report said



Though the company has promised to support the latest generation of USB alongside its "complementary" Thunderbolt standard, some industry insiders believe that Thunderbolt could have a large impact on USB adoption. However, high costs associated with Thunderbolt could slow down adoption of the technology by lower-margin PC and peripheral makers.



Intel has thrown its efforts into the ultrabook spec, even going so far as to invest $300 million in an ultrabook fund for new technologies for the notebook category. The company aims to reach a 40 percent share of the consumer market laptop by the end of next year. Although, if initial shipments are any indication, Intel may have a hard time reaching that goal. Several key partners are rumored to have set initial production volumes below 50,000 due to uncertain demand.







The first ultrabooks arrived on the market this fall, but Acer and Asus have reportedly reduced ultrabook orders by 40 percent after seeing unsatisfactory first-month sales.



For its part, Apple has seen record growth in Mac sales, especially with its own ultra-thin notebook lineup. The company sold an all-time high of 4.9 million Macs last quarter. According to a recent analysis, MacBook Airs now account for 28 percent of the company's notebook units in the U.S., up from 8 percent in June.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    So why not just use the regular thunderbolt port for docking? If intel wants thunderbolt to succeed they have to make it mass market to use economies of scale to drive down the price and up the adoption even more. So far both USB 3.0 and thunderbolt are spinning their wheels and we are stuck using e-sata and USB 2.0 on most consumer non enthusiast devices.
  • Reply 2 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sheff View Post


    So why not just use the regular thunderbolt port for docking? If intel wants thunderbolt to succeed they have to make it mass market to use economies of scale to drive down the price and up the adoption even more. So far both USB 3.0 and thunderbolt are spinning their wheels and we are stuck using e-sata and USB 2.0 on most consumer non enthusiast devices.



    Just do what Apple did, make a single TB port with the accessory having the HW to convert to various other output types.



    PS: My only two wishes are to get power for Mac notebooks connected to TB through the optical in the center of the MagSafe as an option and to pull the power supply back out of the Mac mini so that a securable MagSafe connector can be used with the Mac Mini meaning only one plug to the wall outlet from the ATD. But those requests are very, very trivial.
  • Reply 3 of 50
    Quote:

    Intel is reportedly suggesting that PC makers include "a mini DisplayPort connector, HDMI via DP++, a D-sub connector via USB, a built in USB controller that will connect to USB ports and audio, eSATA via a PCI Express based SATA controller and just about anything else you can think of that needs PCI Express connectivity."



    IOW, Intel is saying: Please include kitchen sink. It will help sell ultrabooks.
  • Reply 4 of 50
    Why did Intel develop Thunderbolt?
  • Reply 5 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post


    Why did Intel develop Thunderbolt?



    Is that suppose to be a trick question?
  • Reply 6 of 50
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    I don't know why Intel has to develop an entire notebook and dock spec for their partners. They're supposed to be chip makers. Are their partners so sh*t they can't do anything themselves?
  • Reply 7 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    I don't know why Intel has to develop an entire notebook and dock spec for their partners. They're supposed to be chip makers. Are their partners so sh*t they can't do anything themselves?



    Intel has been doing 'reference designs' for years. Most PC manufacturers do very little R&D and focus primarily on Marketing and Distribution. The larger PC makers, such as Dell and HP, do try and differentiate themselves through design and 'advanced' features. Apple is really in a class by itself when it comes to the design and marketing of their products. Not only do they build both the OS and hardware, but they have a design group that is second to none. Finally, they have their retail locations in hundreds of upscale locations throughout the world. Back to Intel. I suspect the Ultrabook reference platform is really more about Intel trying to keep the PC relavent as more users do more stuff on tablets and smartphones. Keeping the Intel Architecture (x86) relavent is Job 1, at Intel, just like keeping Windows relavent is Job 1 at Microsoft...
  • Reply 8 of 50
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sheff View Post


    So why not just use the regular thunderbolt port for docking? If intel wants thunderbolt to succeed they have to make it mass market to use economies of scale to drive down the price and up the adoption even more. So far both USB 3.0 and thunderbolt are spinning their wheels and we are stuck using e-sata and USB 2.0 on most consumer non enthusiast devices.



    So true. Thats one thing I have never been able to understand. They just don't seem driven enough to implement higher technology into the public sector.
  • Reply 9 of 50
    The apple haters love to praise the zenbook even though they thought the MBA was a failed product.... Or maybe they just misclicked somewhere on the terrible keyboard and track pad...but don't want to admit because the zenbook is spec'ed better...go figure



    They don't see it as a copy of design either...lol
  • Reply 10 of 50
    Docks are for dinosaurs. Most people who have a dock only use it to connect a wired mouse and keyboard and a monitor. Why not go with Apple's solution and make everything bluetooth or connect through Thunderbolt - clean and simple!
  • Reply 11 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by capoeira4u View Post


    Docks are for dinosaurs. Most people who have a dock only use it to connect a wired mouse and keyboard and a monitor. Why not go with Apple's solution and make everything bluetooth or connect through Thunderbolt - clean and simple!



    That doesn't fly with a windows user. Too restricting for them.
  • Reply 12 of 50
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,654member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by capoeira4u View Post


    - clean and simple!



    PC users have never gravitated towards clean and simple. They seem to prefer messy, cluttered and butt ugly. Luckily, I don't have an ugly fetish, so that explains why I always choose Macs.
  • Reply 13 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    I don't know why Intel has to develop an entire notebook and dock spec for their partners. They're supposed to be chip makers. Are their partners so sh*t they can't do anything themselves?



    Yes.



    No, seriously: yes. The PC makers are historically just common off-the-shelf parts integrators. In fact, the first IBM PC (which later got cloned into what we now call x86 Windows PCs) was itself mostly assembled from COTS parts, which made it remarkably easy to clone, once the BIOS was reverse engineered.



    Apple had quite the opposite history, developing every machine, from the Apple I to the Lisa to the Mac entirely in house. This is called being vertically integrated. From chips to software. The Mac in particular was as custom as it got for its time. And when Steve went off to build the NeXT Cube, that was completely custom. Seriously, check out those YouTube links.



    These are two diametrically opposite philosophies to computer design. The clone makers simply don't have it in their corporate DNA to go and do anything unless it can be easily cobbled together from COTS parts, or else OEM'd from someone else so they can "skin" it. They need Intel to do all the critical engineering, research, miniaturization, integration, so they can easily clone it.
  • Reply 14 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    IOW, Intel is saying: Please include kitchen sink. It will help sell ultrabooks.



    I sure hope they include a Centronics parallel printer port.
  • Reply 15 of 50
    zunxzunx Posts: 620member
    Is should be possible to power on a Mac from a Thunderbolt port, as was previously possible using a device like the i-Cue for USB

    http://www.lindy.co.uk/usb-boot-dong...mac/32871.html

    or the former ADB Apple keyboards that also allowed powering on the Mac from them. That is really convenient when the Mac is away and difficult to reach, below the table, etc.
  • Reply 16 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    Yes.



    No, seriously: yes. The PC makers are historically just common off-the-shelf parts integrators. In fact, the first IBM PC (which later got cloned into what we now call x86 Windows PCs) was itself mostly assembled from COTS parts, which made it remarkably easy to clone, once the BIOS was reverse engineered.



    Apple had quite the opposite history, developing every machine, from the Apple I to the Lisa to the Mac entirely in house. This is called being vertically integrated. From chips to software. The Mac in particular was as custom as it got for its time. And when Steve went off to build the NeXT Cube, that was completely custom. Seriously, check out those YouTube links.



    These are two diametrically opposite philosophies to computer design. The clone makers simply don't have it in their corporate DNA to go and do anything unless it can be easily cobbled together from COTS parts, or else OEM'd from someone else so they can "skin" it. They need Intel to do all the critical engineering, research, miniaturization, integration, so they can easily clone it.



    Thanks for those links, I second your recommendation. The first one in particular was very revealing when Steve Jobs talks about managers. How many here have suffered at the hands of managers who insist on 'managing' when leaving well alone is the best option. Management as an end in itself, rather than a means to an end. The cult of management, a curse of the modern age.
  • Reply 17 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Flash_beezy View Post


    The apple haters love to praise the zenbook even though they thought the MBA was a failed product.... Or maybe they just misclicked somewhere on the terrible keyboard and track pad...but don't want to admit because the zenbook is spec'ed better...go figure



    They don't see it as a copy of design either...lol



    Yep, all of that annoys me no end. I've dissed apple in the past when their products weren't so good, but now I'm humble to admit it. I'm constantly amazed by the people who don't see the similarities in HP's envy series and MBPs, and these zen books and the MBA.





    On another note, another PROPRIETARY connector no one will use? Just run with thunderbolt, it's really not that important to have something "latch" on the computer, I'd rather have a trailing hub with the several ports
  • Reply 18 of 50
    conradjoeconradjoe Posts: 1,887member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    PC users have never gravitated towards clean and simple. They seem to prefer messy, cluttered and butt ugly. Luckily, I don't have an ugly fetish, so that explains why I always choose Macs.



    90%+ of the computer users in the world prefer messy, cluttered and butt ugly?



    In that case, any further Mac sales increases are doomed!
  • Reply 19 of 50
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MDJCM View Post


    Yep, all of that annoys me no end. I've dissed apple in the past when their products weren't so good, but now I'm humble to admit it. I'm constantly amazed by the people who don't see the similarities in HP's envy series and MBPs, and these zen books and the MBA.



    While it didn't take much vision to see how the MBA style was the future it was pricey with that CULV C2D costing $350 (p1k from Intel) and that aluminium milled chassis being the first consumer attempt from Apple. These surely kept the price high, even though competitors quickly followed and still couldn't beat Apple's price.



    On another note, there are rumoured to be 50 or more ultrabooks showcased at CES in January. This is a big deal for the future of computing as it demonstrates a clear move away from the large, slow, clunky, power hungry optical disc drive. This also puts a very clear demarcation line for Blu-ray as an HEC technology, not a consumer 'PC' technology.



    PS: Imagine if Apple came out with a cheaper MacBook using Cortex-A15-based chips running Mac OS X, but limited app access to the Mac App Store. I can see this as a possibility on many levels.



    Quote:

    On another note, another PROPRIETARY connector no one will use? Just run with thunderbolt, it's really not that important to have something "latch" on the computer, I'd rather have a trailing hub with the several ports



    It would be nice to at least get Apple's thunderbolt connector on other devices but a locking connector on a dock is a good idea. If a simple knock of your machine could detach your monitor, speakers, external drives, etc. that would be annoying. It's the one drawback I see to Apple's patent of a MagSafe plug with the optical data cable in the center.
  • Reply 20 of 50
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Flash_beezy View Post


    The apple haters love to praise the zenbook even though they thought the MBA was a failed product.... Or maybe they just misclicked somewhere on the terrible keyboard and track pad...but don't want to admit because the zenbook is spec'ed better...go figure



    They don't see it as a copy of design either...lol



    Same class of product, similar envelope, in similar price ranges, and last I checked, very similar specs, I really don't see why Zenbook is supposed to be a success and Air not. I don't see it as a design copy though, not anywhere near like Samsung's Android devices.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Flash_beezy View Post


    That doesn't fly with a windows user. Too restricting for them.



    Why the doublespeak? A dock is more constricting, the entire dock has to be physically mated to the computer. With TB, you can have everything that's on the dock as much as 10ft away instead. I don't see the benefit of a dock here. With a TB-based hub, you can at least expect to use it with other classes of computers without any design changes. Apple's TB display shows you can have Firewire ports, USB ports, sound, a camera, a display and more TB ports on one Thunderbolt connector. For anything else, a hub designer can just add a PCIe chip into your hub for any peripheral service that the user might want.
Sign In or Register to comment.