First Cable-Free Devices Will Not Deter Physical Ports for Foreseeable Future; USB-Type C and Thunderbolt 3.0 to Guide Industry toward Wireless Transition

07 Jun 2016

Almost half of the smartphones and 93% of laptops will include USB Type-C connectivity by 2020, according to a new study from ABI Research. The market will see fewer connectivity types and ports per device as the industry steadily transitions toward wireless solutions and cable-free devices.

“USB-Type C and Thunderbolt 3.0 will be the last major physical ports to gain major significance and mainstream traction before the transition to wireless alternatives,” says Andrew Zignani, Industry Analyst at ABI Research. “During this period, a number of devices will operate without any cabled connectivity, and while this will remain a nascent portion of the market for some time, the potential is there and heightening.”

802.11ad, also known as WiGig, already gained some traction in the laptop and docking space, currently enabled on some Dell, Acer, and Asus notebooks and docks shipping this year. ABI Research data suggests that the first, real mainstream opportunities for WiGig in access points, devices, and accessories will occur in late 2016. Thereafter, momentum is likely to build across other device categories, such as portable PCs and peripherals, smartphones, tablets, and displays.

Yet, a large portion of the market will not migrate toward cable-free devices in the short-term, such as high-performance categories and enterprise notebooks that require the ability to connect to different legacy infrastructures. Furthermore, wired and wireless connectivity solutions are not mutually exclusive and are, in many respects, complementary.

“We anticipate there to be WiGig-enabled devices that use physical cables, such as the USB-Type C for charging or to assist in dealing with legacy equipment when not at home or when wireless connectivity is not available,” concludes Zignani. “It will take some time for WiGig-enabled displays, projectors, televisions, and accessories to come to market, so many devices will still need to have the option of a physical connection through USB-Type C and Thunderbolt 3.0 for the foreseeable future.”

These findings are from ABI Research’s Device Connectivity Report. This report is part of the company’s Wireless Connectivity Service, which includes research reports, market data, insights, and competitive assessments.

# # #

About ABI Research

For more than 25 years, ABI Research has stood at the forefront of technology market intelligence, partnering with innovative business leaders to implement informed, transformative technology decisions. The company employs a global team of senior analysts to provide comprehensive research and consulting services through deep quantitative forecasts, qualitative analyses and teardown services. An industry pioneer, ABI Research is proactive in its approach, frequently uncovering ground-breaking business cycles ahead of the curve and publishing research 18 to 36 months in advance of other organizations. In all, the company covers more than 60 services, spanning 11 technology sectors. For more information, visit

About ABI Research

ABI Research is a global technology intelligence firm uniquely positioned at the intersection of technology solution providers and end-market companies. We serve as the bridge that seamlessly connects these two segments by providing exclusive research and expert guidance to drive successful technology implementations and deliver strategies proven to attract and retain customers.

ABI Research 是一家全球性的技术情报公司,拥有得天独厚的优势,充当终端市场公司和技术解决方案提供商之间的桥梁,通过提供独家研究和专业性指导,推动成功的技术实施和提供经证明可吸引和留住客户的战略,无缝连接这两大主体。

For more information about ABI Research’s services, contact us at +1.516.624.2500 in the Americas, +44.203.326.0140 in Europe, +65.6592.0290 in Asia-Pacific, or visit

Contact ABI Research

Media Contacts

Americas: +1.516.624.2542
Europe: +44.(0).203.326.0142
Asia: +65 6950.5670

Related Service