USB kit misses Xmas rush

Although Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports are beginning to appear on PCs, a choice of peripherals to plug into them won't be here until next year.

Microsoft, Logitech, Mitel and a number of other vendors are working on products that take advantage of USB's fast 12Mbits per second transfer rate and daisy-chaining support, but nobody is committing to delivering product before 1997, despite trade show demonstrations dating back to 1995.

Logitech, a long-time booster of USB, will be among the first wave when it releases new joystick and scanner lines in January or February of next year. "We have been waiting for the market to develop and we still have parallel port products but we think the market will be huge next year," said UK sales manager Jim Barnes. "It's always a pity to miss the Christmas market but I don't think we've missed too much of an opportunity."

Barnes added that current plans call for Logitech to ship separate parallel port and USB versions of its products.

Microsoft product manager Richard Teversham said the firm will only commit to shipping USB peripherals by autumn of 1997. Mice and joysticks are planned.

Other firms are working on modems, PBX interfaces and other telephony peripherals.

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