You've long been able to recharge your smartphone via USB, and you can even juice up your tablet using that method. But a new flavor of USB is designed to pump out much more power, gving you the ability to charge up your laptop via a USB adapter.
The new standard, USB Power Delivery (or PD), was showcased at Intel's IDF 2012 event last week, and our sister site CNET provides details from the presentation that two Intel engineers gave on the new technology. While you can currently get up to 7.5 watts of power from a specialized battery charging version of USB (USB 3.0 ordinarily provides 4.5 watts), USB PD could offer up to 100 watts of juice -- more than enough to cover nearly any portable device.
In a presentation available on the USB Implementers Forum site, the organization envisions a scenario (shown above) where an LCD monitor would have a USB PD port, which could be used to charge a notebook battery while also serving as that computer's primary display. In theory, the USB PD port could also be built into a new desktop or even a wall adapter to free you from using a "wall wart" style plug to recharge your laptop battery using AC power.
While no specific product announcements have been made about USB PD, the Forum thinks we may see some products using the new standard by the end of 2012. According to CNET, companies that have expressed interest in USB PD technology include Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Nokia and, of course, Intel.