Last week Asus unveiled a new range of motherboards in London. What was particularly interesting was the inclusion of a Thunderbolt port on the P8Z77-V Premium, meaning in future PCs will include Thunderbolt connectivity for the first time. But could Asus include it on tablets too?
Thunderbolt ports combine DisplayPort and PC Express connections. The advantage is a more compact port enabling host devices to take a smaller form-factor, along with fast transfer rates of 10GBps both ways - according to Intel which owns the technology.
Thunderbolt ports are typically used in PC peripherals, such as a portable hard drive or video system (check out the full list of products here). Arguably the most consumer-orientated use of Thunderbolt ports has been by Apple in its laptop range like the MacBook Air (below) and Apple TV, but we never expected Apple to include a Thunderbolt on its iPad - a device with very limited connectivity that doesn't even have a USB port.
Asus takes a different approach to connectivity. It's one of the few tablet manufacturers to realise people value different methods of connecting on their tablets - the Asus EeePad Transformer Prime includes HDMI and USB ports. In addition, Asus appears to view tablets as content creation devices, rather than consumption devices - the detachable keyboard crossing into laptop territory, so adding a Thunderbolt port means the user can add a storage device is natural progression.
We’re expecting Asus to release a Windows 8 Tablet at some point this year - the company confirmed this to Netbook News in January. So could it be that Thunderbolt will appear on the company's Windows 8 devices - like PCs and tablets first - and it will perhaps come to Android later?
This is pure speculation at the moment - Asus hasn't confirmed anything. But we think Thunderbolt on an Asus tablet isn't too far away.