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USB 3.1 Specifications Finalized

The first products with USB 3.1 are expected to appear on the market in late 2014, while wider implementation should be seen in 2015.

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Earlier this month, the USB 3.0 Promoter Group announced that the next generation of USB specifications was ready. The new specification will be named USB 3.1 and will increase the bandwidth from 5 Gbps to 10 Gbps while also increasing the power provided through the USB.

What’s The Importance Of The New USB Generation?

For years, USB was the most widely and commonly used high-speed communication link for peripherals while also removing the need for external power supplies in many applications. Recently, new technologies have allowed competition to creep into the market.

The most viable competition is the Thunderbolt by Intel, which in its first incarnation allows for 10 Gbps speeds. The new USB 3.1 protocol will bring the widely used and backwardly compatible system up to the same speeds as Thunderbolt. The bonus benefit provided by the generation of USB protocols is the new power delivery profile that will allow for up to 100W to be channeled through the USB cable.

The new power profile will provide the opportunity to remove power bricks from larger peripherals such as external storage drives. The new power profile is reported to also provide the ability to charge laptops through new, "detectable" USB cables attached to TVs and desktops designed with new high-power hubs.

What Does The New USB 3.1 Specifications Mean For Consumers?

Given the near universal adoption of USB specification throughout the PC landscape, the implementation of new USB 3.1 protocols and hardware will barely be felt by everyday consumers. The first products with USB 3.1 are expected to appear on the market in late 2014, while wider implementation should be seen in 2015.

As with all previously produced USB products, the new USB 3.1 protocol will be backward compatible with existing USB peripherals and products.

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