News reports from Asia indicate PCs with USB 3.0 will be shipping to consumers before the end of 2009.
USB 3.0, with speeds 10 times faster than USB 2.0, will offer transfer speeds of up to 5 gigabits of data per second. Manufacturers are expected to introduce a new generation of USB flash drives, external hard drives, and other devices that will make use of the significantly faster transfer speeds.
NEC Electronics is expected to lead the pack among companies adopting USB 3.0, with the company recently becoming the first to introduce a USB 3.0 controller. The company began shipping host controller samples last month, and in September will begin manufacturing an expected one million units per month.
In 2007, Intel unveiled USB 3.0 during its Intel Developer Forum (IDF) conference, but was accused by AMD and NVIDIA of keeping the open host controller specifications a secret to create an unfair advantage against competitors. Intel later released the open host controller specifications in November 2007, with companies expected about the increased speed of the technology.
There has been some talk about whether or not the PC industry will be ready for USB 3.0. During the SuperSpeed USB Developers Conference, held two months ago in May, manufacturers outlined their aspirations to utilize the superior USB 3.0 -- devices also were shown to be faster than eSATA, which offers 3Gbits/s transfer speed.
NEC anticipates 140 million PCs will ship in 2011 utilizing USB 3.0, with that number expected to climb up to 340 million in 2012. Microsoft Windows 7, which launches in October, will not support the standard at launch, but will add in support later.
Both home users and businesses will benefit by using the faster technology, with large-scale data backup becoming much faster thanks to the 5Gbit/s transfer speeds. Expect external HDDs with increased storage capacity from Western Digital, Seagate, Iomega, and other companies specializing in storage.