Next-generation USB revealed

USB 3.0 has arrived, or at least the specification that allows the technology to start being built into devices.

USB 3.0 has arrived, or at least the specification that allows the technology to start being built into devices. Offering data-transfer speeds up to 4.8 gigabits per second - that's 10 times the USB 2.0 speeds - USB 3.0 is also expected to offer better power efficiency.

Sure, there's wireless ways to transfer digital files - but the bigger they are, the slower they move. In just a few years, mainstream digital cameras exponentially increased their resolution rates and zoom capabilities, prompting the files to grow in size, as well. Likewise, many of those same cameras now shoot video clips, large files that also need to be offloaded to a PC. The question is: does it take 10 minutes or 1 minute to transfer the files. Of course, this is only one example of USB usage. Jeff Ravencraft, the president of the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the industry group that promotes USB technology, said in a statement:

SuperSpeed USB is the next advancement in ubiquitous technology. Today's consumers are using rich media and large digital files that need to be easily and quickly transferred from PCs to devices and vice versa. SuperSpeed USB meets the needs of everyone, from the tech-savvy executive to the average home user.

The new standard, also known as SuperSpeed USB, was released at the USB Implementers Forum in San Jose.  There's hope that USB 3.0, which is expected to be backward-compatible with earlier versions of USB, will be built into computers around a year from now, with consumer products such as flash drives, mp3 players and, of course, digital cameras, implementing the technology in 2010.