New USB specification details have been unveiled and it seems that it could make Apple’s Thunderbolt connection look very weak. The USB Promoter Group announced that the next-generation USB could deliver up to 100 watts of power though a single USB cable.
This means that it can be used to power an LCD monitor, laptops, printers, and other bigger devices. The group also announced that the new USB 3.0 would remain backwards compatible with old USB 2.0 devices.
A technical demonstration is expected by the end of the year and specification should be codified in early 2012. In other words, original equipment manufacturers and developers will be able to get on cheap USB parts just as the distribution rights of Apple for Thunderbolt dry up.
USB 3.0 ports can transfer data to compatible components with speeds of up to 5 Gbps, and can maintain currents and voltages of up to 900 mA at 5 V, for a max power output of 4.5 Watts. This is about twice the max power output of its predecessor, but a normal USB 3.0 port still struggles to power most external hard disk drives.
“Building on the rapidly increasing industry momentum for using USB bus power to charge a broad range of mobile devices, the new USB Power Delivery specification extends USB’s cable power delivery capabilities beyond simple battery charging,” said USB 3.0 Promoter Group Chairman Brad Saunders in a statement. He added that a laptop can solely rely on a USB connection for its power source.