ultra-ult40112-adapter.jpgAnother year – another specification – another marketing term to look forward to. Nicknamed “SuperSpeed USB”, discussions of USB 3.0 came up again when “suspicious” connectors were spotted on a new Asus notebook, at CES 2008. Though not demonstrated in operation, its an indication that manufacturers seem to be planning ahead and building USB 3.0 infrastructure into their products, much sooner than anyone expected. The full USB 3.0 specification is expected to be complete by the end of June 2008. This is great news for all of us who are full participants of the Digital/HD Era.

As reported by Senior Editor Lonny Paul (last September), USB 3.0 will offer ten times the existing bandwidth of USB 2.0, which means nearly a 5 Gigabit connection. The goal is to create a version of the bus that’s able to deliver files of 25GB or more. That’s the capacity of a single-layer Blu-ray Disc and just under the capacity of a dual-layer HD DVD. Ports and cabling will be designed with both copper and optical cable capabilities, meaning even higher speeds will be possible in the future.

USB 2.0 purists/zealots need not worry. It will be backward compatible, so current USB 2.0 devices will be able to plug into USB 3.0 ports. That backward-compatibility is down to the 3.0 plugs & sockets having two sets of connections – new and legacy. USB 3.0 will offer greater energy efficiency, and the plugs will be longer (and the sockets deeper) than they currently are. Just like its predecessor, there are concerns about the high CPU usage, but lets not throw dirt into the punchbowl, yet.

Soon after the USB 3.0 specification is completed, we should expect new products to be arriving in 2009 – 2010. By then, there should steps towards the next USB specification (4.0) dubbed “Ludicrous Speed” (My apologies to Mel Brooks).

Related Links: USB and USB Peripherals at TigerDirect.com