The USB 3.0 Promoter Group has announced the enhancement to existing SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0) technology that will effectively double its data transfer rate to 10Gbps this year. This will be achieved by using enhanced, fully backward compatible USB connectors and cables.
The new specification supplement will also improve data encoding for more efficient data transfers, and an improved I/O power efficiency. It will also be compatible with existing 5Gbps and new 10Gbps hubs and devices. The enhanced USB 3.0 technology will still be backwards compatible with USB 2.0 devices. This supplement to the USB 3.0 specification is anticipated to be completed by the middle of 2013. In summary, the key characteristics of the higher-rate SuperSpeed USB solution include:
We see this development as headwind for the adoption of Thunderbolt technology as a mainstream high-speed I/O technology for all PCs and laptops. Besides the new enhanced data transfer rate and its backward compatibility with existing USB 2.0/3.0 peripherals, the enhanced USB 3.0 is compatible with existing USB 3.0 software stacks and device class protocols; hence, making short work of development of drivers for new devices that feature this new, enhanced implementation. For more details, please read the official press release here.