USB 3.0 (dubbed 'USB Superspeed') was officially announced almost one year ago and while we knew its general plans, now we've got the whole kaboosh and it's looking gooood....
Fully detailed this week, the specification comes with almost everything we were hoping for but dared not jinx it by saying. For a start let's get the speed out the way: 10x USB 2.0 meaning up to a theoretical 4.8Gbps - frighteningly quick but something that is becoming increasingly necessary in this world of high capacity memory keys, multimedia devices and external hard drives.
Ok, now the new stuff. Digesting the book on sensible USB 3.0 will come with separate lanes for uploads and downloads meaning when you do both simultaneously speed won't collapse to a crawl. Greater power is on tap too (from approximately 100 milliamps to 900 milliamps) so more devices can be charged faster and be able to dump their power bricks while energy consumption when idle will be more efficient than USB 2.0. Perhaps best of all - though not wholly unexpected - USB 3.0 will be fully backwards compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 1.0/1.1.
On the downside cables will be slightly thicker - comparable with Ethernet - but looking at the pluses and minuses here I think we'll be able to live with it!
USB 3.0 will come in all the shapes and sizes we currently know too including a mini connector (above right) that will likely become the defacto solution for mobile phones and portable devices.
So when can we get our hands on it? Sadly USB 3.0 controllers will only be mass produced by mid 2009 while capable USB 3.0 products may not see the light of day until early 2010. There is some hope Christmas 2009 could see the first devices but how often do you see technology (fast moving though it is) beating its release deadlines...?
That aside, this is one upgrade we're really looking forward too...