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USB 3.0 gives Superspeed boost

Faster future USB standard finalised
A USB cable

The USB 3.0 Implementers Forum (USB-IF) has announced the final spec for the next generation of USB connections, backed by industry heavyweights including HP, Intel and Microsoft.

The new standard, referred to as SuperSpeed USB, offers two key advantages over the current USB2.0 technology. It can theoretically support data-transfer speeds of up to 4.8Gbps – ten times the speed provided by USB 2.0 – and is also likely to be more power-efficient.

Jeff Ravencraft, the president of the USB-IF, the industry group that promotes USB technology, said: ‘Today’s consumers are using rich media and large digital files that need to be easily and quickly transferred from PCs to devices and vice versa. SuperSpeed USB meets the needs of everyone, from the tech-savvy executive to the average home user.’

USB 3.0 compatible with existing gadgets

Consumers won’t have to buy new products as USB 3.0 will offer backwards compatibility with the billions of USB PCs, Macs and peripherals already in use.These include devices such as memory sticks, flash drives, hubs, modems, sound cards, as well as more specialised gadgets such as turntables, drum kits and microscopes.

USB is the principal connection for most common electronics products, including MP3 players, digital cameras, printers, mobile phones and digital photo frames.

Which? technology expert Al Warman said: ‘as consumers create ever larger amounts of digital data, whether music, video or photos, the speed at which they can transfer this data needs to keep pace. USB 3.0 is the next step in this evolutionary process.’

The USB-IF anticipates that USB 3.0 will start to appear in computers from the second half of 2009, with consumer products following in 2010.

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