The Universal Serial Bus is getting a sweet upgrade. The USB alliance has made official the name of the 10Gbps specification for USB, and they’re calling it USB 3.1. While only USB 3.1 products will get the faster speeds, the new specification will be backwards compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0.
While Intel is working on its own Thunderbolt standard as an alternative to USB, the company is also backing the USB 3.1 initiative. Truth is, Intel’s efforts with their Thunderbolt standard hasn’t been going too well, as many Windows PC manufacturers aren’t adopting the I/O port because only a small handful of Windows users actually take advantage of it.
Of course, though, Thunderbolt is still faster than USB 3.1. In fact, it’s twice as fast as USB 3.1, and daisy chaining is possible with Thunderbolt. However, ubiquitous beats out speed in most cases, as USB is everywhere, and only a handful of Windows PC actually use Thunderbolt, and adoption rates don’t seem to be in an upward trend for Thunderbolt on Windows PCs. Even Acer has abandoned Thunderbolt in favor of USB 3.0, which is also cheaper.
Sadly, it’s unknown when we’ll see the first USB 3.1 devices make their way to the market, but the first developer sessions for the new specification will begin on August 21. At that point, we could be hearing more information about USB 3.1 and when we should expect it to hit the market. As with USB 3.0, it could take a bit of time for the new specification to spread around, seeing as how USB 3.0 has yet to fully replace USB 2.0.