There should be little doubt that USB 3.0 technology has arrived on PCs after a report released today forecast that tens of millions of devices using the standard will ship in 2011.
"The primary story for USB in 2010 was the emergence of the SuperSpeed standard. 2011 should be a much bigger year for the technology, especially in mobile PCs," said market researcher In-Stat. "This has led In-Stat to forecast that nearly 80 million USB SuperSpeed-enabled devices will ship in 2011."
USB is one of the most widely used connection technologies in the world, found on everything from PCs to tablets to printers to smartphones. Peak speeds for "SuperSpeed" USB--the official nomenclature for the 3.0 specification--are about 10 times that of USB 2.0, the current standard.
Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices--not PC processor kingpin Intel--is one of the driving forces behind USB 3.0 this year, In-Stat said. Yesterday AMD announced its A-series processors, which will be used in more than 150 laptops and desktops starting in the second quarter of 2011. The new AMD silicon has built-in support for USB 3.0.
Intel will follow in short order in early 2012, however, with its Ivy Bridge chips, which also have built-in support for USB 3.0. This year, Intel, along with Apple, began supporting an alternative high-speed standard called Thunderbolt.
Down the road, mobile phones will also begin to sport USB 3.0 ports, too. "Mobile phones are a key driver for USB overall, and will play a role in the adoption of SuperSpeed USB," wrote Brian O'Rourke, research director at In-Stat. "In 2010, USB was found internally in over 1.2 billion mobile phones...The first SuperSpeed USB phones won't hit the market until late 2013, but they will be accompanied by a new SuperSpeed connector for phones that will succeed the current micro-USB port found in today's phones."
The USB Implementers Forum provides a list of devices that are in compliance with the USB 3.0.