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Mechanical docks once were a mainstay in the accessory-portfolio of every serious business laptop. However, since the release of USB C and Thunderbolt 3 (and universal docking solutions using both) as well as the trend to ever thinner Ultrabooks, the situation changed.
Dell as one of the biggest manufacturers of business laptops has completely dropped its proprietary E-docking-port in the last year already – its Latitude notebooks now depend 100 % on USB C and Thunderbolt 3 docks. By removing the bottom docking connector, the laptop can be build a few mm thinner. For this reason, HP uses a proprietary docking-port on the side since a few years.
The third big manufacturer of business laptops, Lenovo, used a proprietary bottom-docking port until the generation T470. The new ThinkPads that Lenovo announced at CES a few days ago (like the T480, X280 or T480s) drop the bottom docking port. As an alternative, Lenovo chose a different path from HP & Dell: The new ThinkPads have a mechanical docking-port on the side. This port combines two USB type C ports with an additional proprietary port. This is necessary, because USB C / Thunderbolt does not carry native Ethernet – a problem for the admins of big companies, who depend on network-management features like PXE-boot.