The powers that be, in the computer industry, have decided it’s high time they sped up the data-transfer speed of USB 3.0. to 10 Gbps. Unfortunately for Thunderbolt, this move could make it all but obsolete. A decision to speed up data-transfer will solve problems with external SSD storage, but it will also make Thunderbolt superfluous, unless you just happen to have some pesky cash laying around that you need to get rid of.
Instant gratification isn’t the tech industry’s strong suit, though. Usually “coming soon’ means at least a year or so has to lapse before us normal people can buy it. Faster USB 3.0 is no different, unfortunately. Specifications should be done sometime in 2013, which means consumers won’t see any initial products sporting the higher speeds until the end of 2014. You see? “Coming Soon” is a bit…relative.
The USB 3.0 promoter group at CES 2013 said that majority of products will have the USB 3.0 upgrade by the end of 2015. Oh, you didn’t know there was a USB 3.0 promoter group? There sure is! Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft, Renesas Electronics, ST- Ericsson, and Texas Instruments make up this elite tech group. Even though this group is oozing industrial power, it’s a pretty difficult to be tasked with shoving the entire electronics industry into a new standard, much less in a timely fashion. In fact, the specs for the original USB 3.0 were all done and ready to go back in 2008. Of course, it wasn’t until four years later that it actually became the standard in Intel hardware in 2012. Yes, 2012. Good thing they are getting started on this double-speed business now, instead of later.
Even though devices that want to take advantage of the new double-speed USB 3.0 interface will need new USB controller hardware, it is a huge relief to consumers to know that USB 3.0’s double-speed counterpart uses the same connectors (thank the tech gods), so existing USB devices will be compatible with the higher speed ports.
USB has been a resounding success since its initial development, making its way from the computer industry into cars, your smartphone, and a plethora of other devices. In fact, the USB implementers forum reports the existence of 720 USB 3.0 compatible devices.
Even though this development may hurt Thunderbolt in the long run, until a real, usable and widespread double-speed USB 3.0 is a functional reality, Thunderbolt still corners the market on 10gbps data-speed. Its capabilities are even being expanded by the arrival of optical Thunderbolt cables on the public market. Sadly, Thunderbolt is practically absent from the market right now accept in a few select Apple products; And have you seen the prices on those Thunderbolt cables? Yowza!
Either way, most consumers will agree that USB is certainly a necessity that could use a good upgrade. Because of this, it is likely that Thunderbolt will remain what it is and always was: a high-end luxury.
Image Source: 9to5mac