The Video Electronic Standards Association (VESA) has announced its latest development: the DockPort standard, designed to allow USB 3.1 data and power to be carried over a DisplayPort connector.
The new DockPort standard from VESA merges the capabilities of USB 3.1 with DisplayPort, offering data, power and audiovisual transfer using a single backwards-compatible connector.
Designed to compete with Thunderbolt in the functionality stakes, VESA's DockPort standard is aimed primarily at portable computing systems like laptops and high-end tablets. When two DockPort-compatible devices are connected, the industry group explained at its announcement, the single cable between them will carry high-resolution digital video, audio, USB-compatible data streams and DC power - allowing the portable device to transfer files, charge its battery or to take control of remote devices. Where a DockPort-compatible device is connected to a standard DisplayPort-compatible device, the extra features are safely disabled - so there's no risk of putting voltage where no voltage should be and popping a monitor, the group claimed.
'As computing platforms become increasingly mobile, it becomes necessary to reduce the number of external connectors,
' claimed AMD's Steve Belt of the group's work. 'With DockPort, VESA has developed a technology standard that enhances elegant docking designs, reduces mobile form factors, and enriches the user experience with streamlined, one-cable access to a wide range of external displays, peripherals and storage.
The DockPort standard is being offered to all VESA member companies royalty-free, with the first DockPort-enabled systems due to go on display at the Computex trade show later today. At present, however, the group has not yet completed a compliance test protocol - meaning it could be a short while before said DockPort-compatible devices are ready to buy on the open market.