Intel has revealed some information about the next generation of Thunderbolt controllers.
Intel boasts that it has 200 licensees for its Thunderbolt standard, but we still haven't seen the standard gain much popularity. The main reason for this is apparently the high price of the cables. Nevertheless, Intel has still developed and announced the next generation of the Thunderbolt interface.
The new interface is codenamed Falcon Ridge, and according to Intel it should be twice as fast as the previous standard, bumping the bandwidth up to 20 Gbit/s in both directions. At this bandwidth, it is possible to stream 4K video as well as transfer large files in the meantime. Intel has also released some information regarding its Redwood Ridge Thunderbolt controller. This would be built into a number of the Haswell CPUs, and while the bandwidth remains at the old standard of 10 Gbit/s, it will feature significantly lower power consumption.
The biggest advantage of the new Thunderbolt standard is that it will have backwards compatibility with the previous standard. Any cables or devices that consumers have purchased should work flawlessly with the newer interface, and newer devices will work on older hosts.
It'll still be a long wait before we see the Falcon Ridge products hit the market though, as they are scheduled for a 2014 release.