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USB 3.0 is one step closer to being included in our computers

It seems like everything uses USB today from cell phone chargers to keyboards, mice, printers, and cameras. What many really want are faster USB connections. USB 3.0 has been on the horizon for a while now and for a time the future of the specification and cross compatibility was unknown.

The USB 3.0 Promoters Group announced yesterday that the USB 3.0 specification was finally complete. The specification is a sort of roadmap that allows manufacturers to build controllers and products utilizing the USB 3.0 standard. The specification has now been turned over to the USB Implementers Forum, the managing body for USB specifications.

Members of the USB 3.0 promoters group including -- HP, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, ST-NXP, and Texas instruments -- have had a long road with accusations from non-forum members that it was keeping the completed specification from other manufacturers in order to give member companies a competitive edge in the market.

The accusations led AMD and NVIDIA to announce that they intended to begin work on their own open host controller for USB 3.0. This move was potentially catastrophic for USB 3.0 as different manufacturers would not have been able to guarantee compatibility across platforms for USB 3.0 devices.

USB-IF president and chairman Jeff Ravencraft said in a statement, "SuperSpeed USB is the next advancement in ubiquitous technology. 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."

The specification for USB 3.0 debuted at the SuperSpeed USB Developers Conference in San Jose on November 17. Among the new improvements that USB 3.0 will bring are higher data speeds and enhanced power efficiency.

The first USB 3.0 discrete controllers will be available in the second half of 2009 and the first consumer products using USB 3.0 are expected to be available in 2010. The first products to be commercially available for the specification will be flash drives, external hard drives, and digital music players.

Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA went around and around in June with accusations over how complete the open host controller specifications for USB 3.0 were. AMD and NVIDIA claimed the specification was complete and Intel wasn't releasing it in an attempt to gain a competitive edge. Intel maintained that the specification wasn't complete and when it was complete, they would release it to other manufacturers.

This is what led AMD and NVIDIA to announce they were starting work on their own specification for USB 3.0 open host controller. Exactly how far the two firms went with their own specification was never announced. The competing specification was never made available and if the two firms did begin developing their own product and just haven’t released it yet, the project is certainly dead now. It's a safe bet that the first specification to market will be the standard for USB 3.0. An AMD source claimed that it was at work on its own specification in June.

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Open standard
By AnnihilatorX on 11/18/2008 10:58:45 AM , Rating: 1
Will they ever learn? These sort of corporation competitive behavior is seriously hampering innovative development and the only party losing out is the customers.

It takes a child to realise co-oporation is better in most goals and even children know how to compromise.

RE: Open standard
By MykC on 11/18/2008 11:17:13 AM , Rating: 4
From the POV of a developer

No money = No motivation
No motivation = No Innovation
No Innovation = No progress

RE: Open standard
By Myg on 11/22/2008 7:19:57 AM , Rating: 2
How do you explain the open source community?

RE: Open standard
By mindless1 on 11/25/2008 1:13:27 AM , Rating: 2
If Luke didn't battle against the dark side, there could have been no movie.

RE: Open standard
By Aloonatic on 11/18/2008 11:19:56 AM , Rating: 2
Not true if they decide to cooperate on a project that is perhaps cheaper to complete and not the best that they feasibly can make.

Not saying that this is what has or would happen, but maybe it could.

If they had worked together and not thought that the other would compete in any way they might have made USB 3.0, say half the speed it is now, so they can use lower spec/cheaper components, making themselves more money.

Then release an upgraded spec a little later that they could have made all along and so on.

As they knew that their competitors wouldn't go that way as they are clouding/cooperating, we get worse tech and it still costs the same as at the end of the day, something is only ever worth what people will be willing to pay for it with the money they have in their pockets.

Competitions mean that their margins suffer rather than us.


RE: Open standard
By dragonbif on 11/18/2008 12:22:10 PM , Rating: 2
AMD and Nvidia did not stop them from working on USB 3 all they did was accuse them of wrong doing. They may have had plans to work on their own USB 3 and it was just a threat. AMD and Nvidia may have just wanted to get the possibliity of Intel doing wrong out into public eye to put presser on Intel.

RE: Open standard
By formulav8 on 11/18/2008 10:22:19 PM , Rating: 1
Intel and their partners has the specs but Intel was not giving them to non-partners.

Which is obviously trying to help them and their partners to get ahead of the non-partners.

There is actually no excuse of that type of practice. Purposely making it so the partners would be ahead of the non-partners in bringing out products.


RE: Open standard
By TomZ on 11/19/2008 9:05:54 AM , Rating: 4
Intel had stated they wanted to complete a test implementation before they released the specification. This avoids the unfortunate situation where a spec is released prematurely, then a whole bunch of companies develop against it, and the flaws in the spec are then noticed.

At that point the choice becomes whether to fix the spec and re-do all the implementations, or just live with the shortcomings.

I hope you can understand this alternate viewpoint. I've seen this situation dozens of times in my career, and while I appreciate AMD's and nVIDIA's concerns, I think Intel did the right thing in this case. A few months' delay to help ensure a better standard - yes, that was worth it.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain
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