Despite being introduced almost a year ago on Apple's MacBook Pro lineup, the Thunderbolt interface hasn't really seen as much love from peripheral makers as we would have expected. While there have been a few Thunderbolt-equipped peripherals hitting the market, it's been more of a trickle than a flood. Belkin is no doubt also hoping the range of Thunderbolt devices will increase in the near future to make it's upcoming Thunderbolt Express Dock, which was unveiled today at CES, a more compelling purchase.
Belkin appears to have been to the industrial designers after displaying a unit with the same name but a different form factor at the 2011 Intel Developer Forum last September. The earlier design appeared to feature three USB ports, a FireWire port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a second, front-facing Thunderbolt port, while the device making its debut at CES boasts three USB 2.0 ports (how we would have loved to see USB 3.0), a Firewire 800 port, an HDMI port, a 3.5 mm audio port, a gigabit Ethernet port and two Thunderbolt ports - one upstream and one downstream - for daisy-chaining other Thunderbolt devices.
The dock provides data transfer rates of up to 10 Gbps bi-directionally and is designed to make it easy for MacBook and Ultrabook users to come back to their desk after a day out and plug into multiple peripherals via a single cable.
Unfortunately we'll have to wait a little while longer for such convenience as Belkin won't be releasing the Thunderbolt Express Dock until September this year. It also wont be cheap, being priced at US$299.
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