CES 2012: USB 3.0 Coming to Tablets and Phones By Early Next Year

By Sam Cook

A MicroUSB 3.0 is coming to mobile devices, which means faster transfers and charging times.

USB 3.0, the second major revision of the current go-to connection technology, will start showing up in MicroUSB form on phones an tablets by the end of this year or early next year, according to the USB Implementers Forum. The slimmed-down ports will be faster than the 2.0 versions commonly used now, but power restrictions will limit them to around 800Mbps, slower than the 5Gbps of regular USB 3.0. Rahman Ismail, chief technology officer for the Forum, estimates that transfers requiring 15 minutes now will complete in 1 minute and 10 seconds on the revamped MicroUSB tech.

We imagine that USB 3.0 capable smartphones would use the Micro-B connector.

We’re always in favor of faster wired connections, though it’s less of a virtue on mobile platforms where content is more easily added over the air. The bigger benefit to MicroUSB 3.0 is its increased power throughput, which could mean faster charging times.

Ismail also mentioned that his organization will probably need to cut the height of regular USB 3.0 ports in the future, since it’s fast become a limiting factor in super-thin laptops. As USB faces competition from Intel’s impressive Thunderbolt tech, port size may become a serious factor for adoption rates.