USB 3.0: Faster! Faster!

By  |  Monday, November 17, 2008 at 8:39 pm

My iPhone 3G euphoria faded the moment I took my phone home and plugged it into my PC to synchronize with iTunes–it took way too long to transfer my music and videos. Cue the USB 3.0 specification: What took minutes could conceivably now take seconds.

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group, the body that oversees USB 3.0, announced today that it has completed work on version 1.0 of the specification. The specification has been dubbed “USB SuperSpeed,” and it can deliver over ten times the speed of today’s USB connections, or up to 5Gbps, according to the group’s Web site.

USB 3.0 remains backwards compatible with USB 2.0 Type A connectors, but sports new power management capabilities and handles data flow differently. Wiring changes provide for bidirectional data transfers; USB 2.0 is based on unidirectional data flow.

According to press reports, consumer USB 3.0 devices are slated to hit the market in 2010, and flash drives may be the first products to sport the new interface.

Whether real life performance lives up to promised performance remains to be seen; device overhead can sap theoretical speed. Demonstrations of devices were noted to be well under 5Gbps.

Still, the storage capacity of phones, media players, and other devices is increasing–if I get a device with much larger capacity two years from now and I can fill it up in the same time it takes to fill my iPhone today, I’ll be happy.

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