3.0 is a Charm

In its newest form, USB will be fitter and faster--and it'll get on great with its predecessors.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the February 2008 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

You can't escape from USB--it's everywhere. USB 2.0 was a bump up in performance from the original 1.1 standard, and the 3.0 version is looking to make even greater improvements in the popular technology. Intel, which heads up the group that is developing the new standard, has released some hints as to what we'll be seeing. As file sizes grow ever bigger (especially digital media files), USB 2.0's 480 Mbps speeds seem increasingly poky. USB 3.0 is expected to reach some very zippy speeds of 4.8 Gbps--10 times what USB 2.0 is capable of. Faster data transfers are good news for entrepreneurs who rely on USB for everything from printers to digital cameras.

Power efficiency is another focus of the new specification. Improvements in this area will boost battery life for the many mobile devices that use USB. The 3.0 version will also be backward-compatible with USB 2.0, so your old devices will still work. The specification is on track to be completed this year, and devices using the revamped technology are likely to hit the market as early as 2009. It's not a reason to hold off making technology buys, but it is something to look forward to. A lot is happening in the world of USB. A wireless version of USB is already out, but the next leap forward for the wired specification should help bring along a big speed improvement and better battery life for a lot of common devices. To keep up on the latest, visit the USB Implementers Forum at usb.org.

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