HP on Thunderbolt: Meh

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Thunderbolt: Not for HPThe Thunderbolt port Apple is including on new Macs may offer high-speed data transfer and video support, but it isn’t enough to woo HP into adding the technology to its PC offerings. Instead, the computer and printer maker plans on sticking with USB 3.0 in part because the standard is more widely deployed, according to Macworld.

Thunderbolt uses the same Mini DisplayPort connector Apple relies on for external displays, but offers 10Gbp/s data transfer speeds, and can handle video and audio along with hard drives and other peripherals.

HP said it did consider Thunderbolt, but hasn’t completely shut the door on the idea of including the technology in its computers. “We’re still looking into it,” commented HP worldwide marketing manager for desktops Xavier Lauwaert. “Haven’t found a value proposition yet.”

Currently, the Thunderbolt port on new iMacs and MacBook Pro models is good for external displays, but not much else because manufacturers haven’t brought their Thunderbolt-compatible hard drives to market yet. That, however, should change in the next few weeks since companies like LaCie and Western Digital are planning on shipping compatible drives by July.

Maybe after more peripherals hit store shelves HP will reconsider getting on board with Thunderbolt. For now, however, the company is content with USB 3.0.

“On the PC side, everybody seems to be content with the expansion of USB 3.0,” Mr. Lauwaert said. “Do we need to go into more fancy solutions? Not convinced yet.”

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30 Comments Leave Your Own

wab95

The last time somebody said, ‘Meh’ to an Apple move, Apple ate their lunch, while they dined on crow. (Granted, this time they didn’t actually say, ‘meh’.)

This is like being witness to a time-loop; the industry keeps repeating the same strategic errors, on the apparent assumption that, if it didn’t work the last time, it’ll work this time. And by ‘this’, I mean going with mainstream think (floppy drives, tiny keyboards and screens on smart phones, mini versions of laptops - netbooks).

And HP wonder why nobody thinks they’re ‘cool’. It’s hard to be seen as cool when you ape the status quo.

geoduck

I understand HPs decision perfectly. No good reason for them to take the risk until there are peripherals that have or accept the standard. As of this moment only Apple products have it and maybe a couple of high end drives. Unless it becomes much more mainstream, with hubs, displays, drives etc from lots of vendors available there’s no reason for anyone to jump. In a year, if others have blazed the trail they can add it to their systems.

wab95

I understand HPs decision perfectly

As ever, you make sense, geoduck. However, there is the issue of pipeline and having compatible products once said peripherals are available (which are rumoured to be in production now). 

Agreed, however. I would expect no less than this response from HP.

I should add, when I was student at Stanford my wife (then fiancee) consulted with HP. A more conservative lot you could not hope to find.

Nemo

Horse hockey:  HP is simply trying to talk down Thunderbolt, because Apple has the lead in that technology, and it will take HP months to catch up.  HP hopes that it can retard the adoption of Thunderbolt, thus, diminishing Apple’s advantage, while it urgently works to prepare its PCs for the superior Thunderbolt interconnect. 

But it wont’ work, because Apple, Intel, and other major OEMs and makers of peripherals have committed to Thunderbolt, with more computers with Thunderbolt already scheduled and with the first peripherals scheduled to be introduced this summers.  And those who have committed to Thunderbolt aren’t doing it to do Apple and/or Intel a favor; they are doing it because Thunderbolt, as an interconnect, is superior to USB 3.0 and all other available technologies in every way:  it is much faster, it is cost competitive to implement; it is better able to power peripherals; it can be used for all displays and peripherals; it can be made backwardly compatible with existing standards, and its potential for even greater performance in the future exceeds that of other interface/interconnect technologies. 

That is why Thunderbolt will be widely adopted and prevail and is why HP is simply trying to deflect and delay with the nonsense it spouted, supra.

wab95

Horse hockey:? HP is simply trying to talk down Thunderbolt, because Apple has the lead in that technology

I like that expression.

Still, I would not expect HP to be an innovation leader, but I maintain they’ll be struggling to move inventory in a few months time. But they’ll manage. They’ll dump those non-TB enabled PCs on the developing world, and still sell them at a premium.

Nemo

But what a shame, because HP once was, as is Apple, a leader in innovation but has been that for some time now.  Now, Leo Apotheker once again is looking at Apple’s backside and is perhaps deciding to hold a meeting with HP’s R&D scientist and engineers. 

That meeting might go something like this:

Leo:  You’ve let HP down by allowing its reputation as an innovator to become a joke.  I read a comment from some smart aleck at TMO saying how his wife found us to be a group of hidebound has-beens.  You all should hate yourselves for letting HP and each other down.  Lord knows that I hate you.

Leo:  What is HP’s R&D for?

Intrepid young engineer:  R&D’s role is to develop profitable innovative and proprietary technology for HP to introduce as new products and services.

Leo:  Then, why f*c$%k isn’t it doing that?

Kevin

USB has more devices out there.  I have yet to see a thunderbolt flash drive yet.  That being said USB previously beat firewire and firewire was faster.  Also firewire was a mac thing.

Nemo

But Thunderbolt isn’t a Mac thing; it is available to everyone on the same terms.  And it was Intel that created and backed USB, making it a success.  In just the same manner, now, it is Intel that, along with Apple, which developed Thunderbolt and which is fully backing Thunderbolt.  If Intel was able to make USB a success, does anyone doubt that Apple and Intel together, along with all of their already announced partners, can make Thunderbolt at least as successful as USB?

HP has one choice:  It can either get on board or be left at the station.

blafouille

RAID ...not good enough….?!

wab95

Leo:? Then, why f*c$%k isn?t it doing that?

Exactly right.

I still think TMO should print some T-shirts with that expression.

Also firewire was a mac thing.

But Kevin, unlike firewire, T-bolt is not only an Apple thing, it’s an Intel thing.

xmattingly

The last time somebody said, ?Meh? to an Apple move, Apple ate their lunch, while they dined on crow. (Granted, this time they didn?t actually say, ?meh?.)

I’m not sure what you’re referring to, but this comment from HP specifically recalls FireWire vs. USB, to me. I think FW was (sort of still is) the superior technology, but Apple couldn’t get it to hold mainstream.

Pro’s vs. con’s of adopting Thunderbolt: drastically faster transfer rates, miniaturized port, delivers power plus data, it can drive monitors and virtually eliminates the need for PCI cards… though it’s not ubiquitous like USB, or backwards compatible since it’s new to market.

I think this is a dumb move on HP’s part since the market is moving towards handheld computers at an increasing pace, so a miniaturized port with faster transfers makes way more sense. My best guess is that they’ve already invested in USB 3 in current/upcoming products, and they don’t want to pay royalties to Apple & Intel, either.

Nemo

One of Intel’s first lab demos of Thunderbolt, which was then called Light Peak, was with RAID, showing that Thunderbolt dramatically increased the performance of RAID.  And, of course, unlike RAID, Thunderbolt can be deployed as plug-in-play technology by even the most unsophisticated user to get much faster performance from external drives.

wab95

I?m not sure what you?re referring to

BG on the iPad. He acknowledged that he wished Microsoft had done the iPhone, but after the release of the iPad, he is reported to have said, ‘Meh’.  Of note, when the iPhone was released, Ballmer laughed it to scorn and asked who would buy this overpriced phone. So, it is not as if MS immediately appreciated the value of the iPhone when it was released.

Agree with your thinking that this is not HP’s smartest move. I think Nemo is correct, however; they were just caught flat-footed and are doing their best to spin this in their favour.

Another difference between now and when Apple released firewire is that Apple’s computers are now on the ascent and beating the industry sales rate. The whole relationship between Apple and its products, both iOS and OS X - based, and enterprise is different than a decade ago (and yes, I know there were no iOS devices a decade ago).

Intruder

Parallel and RS-232 ports vs USB1 anybody?

Same arguments made then regarding lack of peripherals and adoption, yet USB has almost completely supplanted parallel and serial ports. Apple didn’t invent USB, but they certainly popularized it when the original iMac came out.

wab95

Apple didn?t invent USB, but they certainly popularized it when the original iMac came out.

Indeed, helped in no small measure by the iMac’s doing away with floppy drives, followed by the rest of the Mac lineup. The small flashdrives alone blew all other data storage solutions out of the water and were a principal driver in the popularity of USB-enabled computers - certainly in Asia.

When I got my first gen G3 Powerbook (Wall Street config - just to clarify), floppies were still standard on PC laptops, but were largely gone from new machines within 18 months, if memory serves.

EB

A little more complicated. Of course HP will poo poo it. Apple has a one year exclusive because of their contribution to the spec, preventing HP from putting it in their hardware. Do they WANT to use it? Of course. Are they ALLOWED to use it? Not yet. Until such a time that they are, they will do what they can to make it seem unnecessary. Otherwise, they will lose sales to Apple hardware.

mhikl

The Apple leader has no choice but to be first to make an assault into new technology for the immediate present and into the future. Apple?s luxury products have higher initial costs and hold their value far longer than HP products. Apple users expect their purchases to be productive into the longer future and the company is building a broader user base because of such expectations. By jumping into Thunderbolt too early, HP would be tossing coin into a wishing well and HP knows this.

It makes little sense to include advanced technologies in toss away products that would soon be wasting away in the dump. I applaud HP?s foresight.

Be careful of over analysing, Nemo.  At times innovative, HP has followed this present plan for ever and the future is an integral part of time. grin  Wab95, ?. . . dump those non-TB enabled PCs on the developing world.?  Hilarious but true, sadly.

Shylock would, and I so too, enjoy your trains of thought.

Ken Berger

HP as usual is way behind the curve. Thunderbolt is way more than USB 3.0 is about Laptops replacing desktop computers.

In effect it eliminates or replaces the need for PCI Cards as it puts the PCI buss on a serial interface.

USB 3.0 is not even in the same class and Thunderbolt will enable a new range of peripherals with better performance from video and audio I/O to graphical accelerators

rozinator

One thing that works in Thunderport’s favor is that because it uses mini-displayport it is not as if you’d need to justify an extra port to support it. In that way it sort of benefits from legacy hardware in a similar way to the way USB2 did building off of USB1. 

I wonder how the cost of implementation between Thunderport and USB3 compares.

daemon

Parallel and RS-232 ports vs USB1 anybody?

Please, I have original Pentium II PCs with USB on ‘em. USB was ubiquitous, it’s just that both Parallel and Serial ports were included as standard along with USB.

The iMac wasn’t remarkable for having USB. It was remarkable for not having Serial, Parallel, and Floppy drives. That’s a significant difference from what you are portraying.

wab95

The iMac wasn?t remarkable for having USB

You’re right, Daemon, some computers had both, while the iMac did not. But that small build difference compelled Mac users to become early adopters of the newer flash media, certainly in my neck of the planet.

I should add, those USB ports were not universally present on PC’s of the time; only on more expensive models, which many bean counters, including at my Asia office, disallowed as ‘too expensive’.

I’m sure it may have differed by profession and location, but I can recall international conferences in the early noughties when I could almost tell who was a Mac user simply by whether or not they had, as it was called then, a ‘memory stick’.

We are poised to see history repeat itself thus with T-bolt. As with flash media, I am equally confident that, five years hence, everyone will deny Apple’s role, and Mac users’ behaviour, as agents of change.

Ross Edwards

Also firewire was a mac thing.

It had wider industry adoption than you give it credit for.  I had a circa-1996 Sony DAT recorder that had firewire in and out (albeit software-crippled with SCMS if you linked it to another consumer recorder).  In pro audio and video, firewire was an active standard.  Even in consumer video, the era of the miniDV camera was one in which the majority of models on store shelves had firewire out.  For much of the mid-2000s, Toshiba had firewire ports in its entire line of notebook computers, and that was at the apex of their market position.

It would be great for thunderbolt to do ONLY as well as firewire.  It has been engineered to do even better, and probably will.

mhikl

True wab95. USB was extremely notable on the Bondi iMac because it was the only way to connect anything to it which made the first iteration a very bad buy. Anything much more demanding than a printer was excruciatingly slow to load. What, three months later, the first flavours came out with firewire, I believe.

We opted for the last all-on-one and later added a usb card. It took a number of iterations for an iMac to catch up to what it could do, all ports filled. And it still works, er would if plugged in.

Txtraveler

The last time somebody said, ?Meh? to an Apple move, Apple ate their lunch, while they dined on crow. (Granted, this time they didn?t actually say, ?meh?.)

Remember a little thing called “firewire” that Apple backed?  As I remember, USB was the one who ate the lunch…

Pio

FireWire was not only a Apple thing: remember Sony’s iLink.

5 years ago I quit searching for a single cable attached to my Pismo, being bored to have to unplug all those USB, FW, Ethernet and video cables (I know: docking station but that was quite expensive…). Thunderbolt (LightPeak) is the way to go.

Pio

FireWire was not only a Apple thing: remember Sony’s iLink.

5 years ago I quit searching for a single cable attached to my Pismo, being bored to have to unplug all those USB, FW, Ethernet and video cables (I know: docking station but that was quite expensive…). Thunderbolt (LightPeak) is the way to go.

Txtraveler

5 years ago I quit searching for a single cable attached to my Pismo, being bored to have to unplug all those USB, FW, Ethernet and video cables (I know: docking station but that was quite expensive?). Thunderbolt (LightPeak) is the way to go.

So now you’re saying I have to get rid of all my USB cables that are doing just fine, and replace them all with Thunderbolt cables?  I think not…

EB

No, I don’t think that is what he means at all. What he means is that instead of a cumbersome docking station, light peak will be the cable to a docking station where you will leave all your Ethernet, FW, and USB cables connected. Since light peak is a pci bus, you can create a docking station with all those ports and connect it to the laptop with just one cable…

EB

Pio said:

5 years ago I quit searching for a single cable attached to my Pismo, being bored to have to unplug all those USB, FW, Ethernet and video cables (I know: docking station but that was quite expensive?). Thunderbolt (LightPeak) is the way to go.

So now you?re saying I have to get rid of all my USB cables that are doing just fine, and replace them all with Thunderbolt cables?? I think not?

No, I don?t think that is what he means at all. What he means is that instead of a cumbersome docking station, light peak will be the cable to a docking station where you will leave all your Ethernet, FW, and USB cables connected. Since light peak is a pci bus, you can create a docking station with all those ports and connect it to the laptop with just one cable?

Txtraveler

No, I don?t think that is what he means at all. What he means is that instead of a cumbersome docking station, light peak will be the cable to a docking station where you will leave all your Ethernet, FW, and USB cables connected…

I don’t know how many people use docking stations.  I don’t, and so this wouldn’t help me at all.  Hooking all my currently USB & HDMI(all I use; if it can’t work with those, I get a different one) devices into another device so I can use a single plug is no better than my current tower setup.  If USB3 can use the same cables, I like it better.

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