Report: Sony laptop to have hybrid Thunderbolt, USB 3.0 connector


— 6:00 AM on May 18, 2011

Here comes a twist to the USB 3.0 vs. Thunderbolt fight for dominance. According to Engadget, Sony has jumped on the Thunderbolt bandwagon, but it's not using the same connector type as Apple. Believe it or not, one of Sony's upcoming Vaio laptops is said to feature a hybrid USB 3.0/Thunderbolt port.

The photo of the machine shows what looks like a plain-jane USB 3.0 port, but Engadget quotes a "trusted source" as saying that port also has some Thunderbolt juju going on. Apple, by contrast, pipes Thunderbolt through the same mini-DisplayPort connectors the company introduced with its aluminum MacBook laptops back in late 2008.

Now, having Thunderbolt and SuperSpeed USB go through the same connector isn't an entirely novel idea. Engadget points out that Intel's first Thunderbolt prototype (back when the interconnect was known by its code name, Light Peak) "combined a hybrid USB 3.0 connector with an optical interface and electrical connection to carry power." The USB Implementers Forum reportedly had some reservations about the matchup, but perhaps some sort of deal has been reached.

If this report turns out to be true, then it may only mean further fragmentation in the world of next-gen interconnects. I'm sure makers of port adapters are already popping champagne corks, though.

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