Intel to make Thunderbolt 3 royalty-free in 2018

Chip giant looks to boost uptake beyond Apple devices as it moves Thunderbolt 3 into the CPU.

Intel has announced that it will make its Thunderbolt 3 specification royalty-free from next year.

The move is expected to boost adoption of the protocol, Intel vice president of the Client Computing Group Chris Walker said in a blog post.

At the same time, the company said it would do away with its discrete Thunderbolt 3 component, and move it into the CPU itself, allowing for thinner and more power-efficient devices, Walker said.

"For the first time, all the ports on a computer can be the same -- any port can charge the system and connect to Thunderbolt devices, every display and billions of USB devices," he said.

Intel has touted its 40Gbps protocol as "the USB-C that does it all" as it is able to support USB, Thunderbolt, DisplayPort, and PCI Express protocols, as well as carry power to devices.

In its new Surface Pro released this week, Microsoft continued to ship the device without support for USB-C, let alone add Thunderbolt 3 support.

Support for Thunderbolt 3 is slowly making its way into peripherals, with Western Digital announcing this week it was updating its G-Technology product lines with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 support.

A slide leaked earlier this week suggested Intel would release a 12-core desktop CPU badged as a Core i9.

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