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New spec will allow for high-power USB 3.0 ports

By 2012, USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports could be delivering up to 100 watts to connected devices

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group announced this Tuesday new plans for an extension of the USB 3.0 specifications to allow for delivery of more power.

According to its press release, the new spec will be able to deliver higher voltages and current up to 100 watts and will work equally well on both USB 2.0 and 3.0 with existing cables and connectors. “Conceivably, a notebook PC could rely solely on a USB connection for its source of power,” said USB 3.0 Promoter Group Chairman Brad Saunders.

Currently, a normal USB 2.0 port provides a 5V supply with at most 500mA per port, while USB 3.0 offers around the same voltage but with up to 900mA per port.

The new spec is expected to be ready for review and publication by early 2012, so notebooks and PCs sporting the new high-power USB port could begin popping up soon after that. It would be interesting to see the adoption rate of the new specification as USB 3.0 is still a long ways off from becoming ubiquitous.


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Allen Ngo, 2011-08- 9 (Update: 2012-05-26)