ONE OF THE steps that any manufacturer of USB compliant devices has to pass is getting certified by the USB-IF so that the USB device is proven to be compatible with the USB standard. This has been one of the big hindrances for USB 3.0 solutions and it seems to be holding back Taiwanese manufacturers of USB 3.0 ICs to the degree that we won’t see any significant shipments of USB 3.0 compliant chips from Taiwan this year.
So far Renesas and Fresco Logic – the first being Japanese and the latter a US company – are the only companies that are shipping USB 3.0 host controllers for use in PCs and it doesn’t look like this is likely to change if we’re to believe a story on Digitimes. The story goes on to say that “sources” at Renesas is claiming that “end-market device makers are” reluctant to launch products with USB 3.0 connectivity, as they’re waiting for Intel to integrate USB 3.0 support in its chipsets.
That statement from Renesas seems to be outdated, as there’s a wide range of USB 3.0 devices already on the market and more are being launched at an exponential rate. The problem appears to be a lack of supporting ICs for various types of devices rather than lack of interest due to missing support in Intel’s chipsets. On top of that we’re just seeing more and more motherboards and notebooks – and even netbooks – launching with support for USB 3.0 as a standard feature.
On the other hand, without the blessing of the USB-IF, none of the Taiwanese manufacturers will be able to get their solutions into retail products. We also doubt that we’ll have to wait until 2012 to see a major uptake of USB 3.0 which is apparently what some of the Taiwanese IC design companies seem to be believe.
USB 3.0 already offers enough advantages over USB 2.0 to make it a viable technology that consumers will be replacing older devices with, but as always, these things take some time. The eco system of devices is still growing and although the focus so far has been on storage solutions, we’re already starting to see a lot of other interesting implementations for things like HD video editing and even HD webcams. Unless Intel manages to launch Light Peak at IDF, USB 3.0 is fairly set to become the standard that replaces USB 2.0, with or without Intel’s blessing.S|A
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