USB 3.0 devices have been available since late 2009. I tested several first-gen USB 3.0 external hard drives in early 2010 and the spec hit several laptop platforms a bit after that. Still, even though it’s nearly halfway through 2011 now, USB 3.0-equipped computers are rare. One Lenovo product manager expects the spec to hit the big time next year.
“In 2012 USB 3.0 will be a mainstream technology,” Jason Parrish, worldwide product manager for Lenovo ThinkPad, told Cnet. “And we see 2011 as the transition year for USB 3.0 as it starts to come into more and more products,”
Of course USB 3.0 is going up against Intel’s baby, Thunderbolt, but the use cases are a bit different. Sure, Thunderbolt kicks the pants off USB 3.0 in speed, platform support. (the sweet name doesn’t hurt, either) But it seems more PC makers are opting for the faster USB spec for mainstream product lines where Thunderbolt will likely hit niche performance models. As Jason points out, space is limited on today’s slim notebooks so not many OEMs will waste space on a spec with a nonexistent product base.
So will USB 3.0 hit the big time next year? Yep.