The Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock.

If Consumer Electronic Show announcements are an indication, 2012 will be the year Thunderbolt technology picks up significant steam as this year saw a limited uptake stemming from exclusive industry support by early adopter Apple, which rolled out Thunderbolt across its MacBook Air, iMac and Mac mini range.

First up, Belkin is out with a Thunderbolt-enabled dock that allows your MacBook Air to connect to a wide range of peripherals using just one Thunderbolt cable. Akin to its IDF prototype device, the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock provides a selection of ports that mirror the new 27-inch Apple Thunderbolt display.

According to Belkin, which previewed the stylish port replicator at CES 2012 yesterday, it will feature a Gigabit Ethernet port, a FireWire 800 port, one HDMI port, 3.5mm audio port, three USB 2.0 jacks and two Thunderbolt ports —one upstream and one downstream. If it came with USB3.0, it would be a must-have. The Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock will be available in September 2012 for $299.

Next up, the Elgato Thunderbolt SSD, pictured below. It is first bus-powered Thunderbolt drive that does not need a separate power brick. CNET explained it is quite a feat considering that 10 volts of power of the Thunderbolt interface is shared by the interface itself plus the cable, which has active parts. Sporting a 2.5-inch 128 GB or 256GB SSD unit capped at SATA3 speeds of 6Gbps, the drive will be available in February for approximately $400 or $600, respectively.

Elgato also promised a thinner and short Thunderbolt cable that will be more suitable for this thin external drive than Apple’s standard $49 Thunderbolt cable. Go past the fold for much more Thunderbolt gear unveiled at CES 2012. expand full story