The USB 3.0 Promoter Group has officially announced USB 3.1, a finalized update that will deliver 10Gbps throughput, meanwhile, also enabling backward compatibility for existing 3.0 and 2.0 products.
SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps uses a more efficient data encoding and will deliver more than twice the effective data through-put performance of existing SuperSpeed USB over enhanced, fully backward compatible USB connectors and cables. Compatibility is assured with existing USB 3.0 software stacks and device class protocols as well as with existing 5 Gbps hubs and devices and USB 2.0 products.
USB is still king when it comes to wired connectivity between devices/peripherals, and will likely stay on the throne for a lot while longer. Intel’s current 10Gbps bi-directional throughput Thunderbolt standard is having a tough time competing with USB in terms of widespread adoption by hardware makers.
Thunderbolt 2 will support 20Gbps throughput, but that, too, may not be enough to convince manufacturers to fork out more cash to have the port built into their hardware.
Products featuring USB 3.1 won’t arrive until 2014, and we’ll likely continue to see Thunderbolt as more of an Apple-exclusive and USB for everything else.