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.
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.
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