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Canon is 'excited' about Intel's Thunderbolt

Intel's Thunderbolt technology might promise incredible transfer speeds for peripheral devices, but that's not much good if nobody supports it. Thankfully for Intel, it's generating interest - and the latest company to throw its hat into the ring is Canon.

Thunderbolt is the first commercial product to come out of Intel's Light Peak research: a high-speed connectivity system that combines PCI Express and DisplayPort technology into a single cable capable of transferring data at speeds of up to 10Gb/s bi-directionally - around twice that achievable with USB 3.0.

However, so far companies are adopting a wait-and-see approach, with Apple the only manufacturer to add a Thunderbolt port to its latest laptops. The biggest risk Intel's new tech faces is a lack of adoption: if the peripheral manufacturers opt for the tried-and-tested backwards-compatible USB 3.0, despite its slower transfer rates, Thunderbolt will be dead in the water.

Camera manufacturer Canon has, so far, failed to confirm that it's looking to add Thunderbolt technology to its popular imaging devices, but the company's group executive for video products Hiroo Edakubo hasn't ruled it out.

"We are excited about Thunderbolt technology," Edakubo explained, "and feel it will bring new levels of performance and simplicity to the video creation market."

While Intel is trumpeting that as a ringing endorsement, claiming in a statement that "Canon joins a growing list of companies looking to build products using Thunderbolt technology," you'll note that it's far from a guarantee of Thunderbolt support. It's exciting, it could bring new levels of performance and simplicity, but that doesn't necessarily mean that Canon will be supporting it.

There's no denying that Thunderbolt is a promising technology, but support from Apple and a handful of external storage manufacturers isn't going to be enough.

For proof of that, just see the relative success of the Apple-led Firewire versus the now-ubiquitous USB standard.