Smartphones and Tablets to get USB 3.0 ports by end of 2012

Compact USB 3.0 ports should arrive on smartphones and tablets by the end of 2012, the organization behind USB standards has insisted, promising significantly reduced data transfer speeds. Expected rates are in the region of 100 MB/s, the USB Implementers Forum told PC World, lower than the raw throughput of the USB 3.0 standard because such speeds would demand simply too much power.

Still, even at reduced rates, the difference between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 on tablets and phones should be marked. "What takes 15 minutes will roughly take 1 minute and 10 seconds" USB Implementers Forum CTO Rahman Ismail claims. Meanwhile, the group is working on new tech that should reduce power draw but keep speed rates high; "we're coming out with new specs, new areas where we will make it very power efficient, power friendly" Ismail says.

Next up is reducing the size of a regular USB 3.0 port, as that's fast becoming a limiting factor on how thin ultraportables and ultrabooks can be. "We're next in line" after VGA ports, Ismail admits.

Another benefit of USB 3.0 on tablets and phones will be faster recharging. They'll of course be backward compatible with USB 2.0 connections, if you don't have USB 3.0.