To USB or Not to USB



I’ve visited a lot of customers and potential customers over the past 10 years talking about USB 2.0 and now USB 3.0.  I have to say, that the longer USB 2.0 is around, the more designers come up with ways to use USB 2.0 in products. 

For example, in China 2 weeks ago I saw a TV with USB Host and Device Ports.  I’m guessing that the Device port was for connecting to a PC so you could upload stuff into the TV like music, pictures, or video.  I’m guessing because it looked like there were pre-loaded images that could be updated.  There weren’t any instructions on this model and the sales person didn’t speak English.  The Host port could be used for pictures and video from a USB flash drive.  This was clear from the information on the front of the TV showing JPEG and DIVX readability.  Of course, I’ve blogged about the fact that there are USB ports on mainstream Samsung and Sony TVs, but I think that having USB ports on standard definition TVs in China is different then having it on premium HD sets in Japan or the U.S..

For USB 3.0,  I expect exceptionally cool stuff.

The most interesting thing is that when I talk to some engineers, these engineers do not see the need for more memory, more speed, more storage.  It’s weird because these engineers (all over the world) adopt these devices at a slower rate than many.  But about 3 years ago, I noticed that everyone had a Blackberry on every flight I took (or so it seemed) and an iPod.  About 1 year ago, it seemed that every 3rd person on a Trans-Pacific flight had an iPhone.  People on domestic flights have a greater variety of phones like LG, Samsung, or other phones, but Blackberries and iPhones still predominate on domestic flights.

My point is simply this:

Companies like Apple (and it isn’t just Apple) continue to innovate and make use of the technology creatively to create new markets, better products using more memory, more features (capacitive touch screens), more speed (iPhone 3GS),  and more speed like USB 3.0.   The companies that really push for market presence and make the most dollars, adopt technology, and put it into great products to make fun stuff people buy.

I had a guy tell me that the iPhone was a “toy”   I now think, “Yes, that is exactly right”  If I don’t need a new phone, why do I buy a new one?  I use my discretionary dollars to buy a cool phone that can make calls, browse the web, or download a gizillion apps.   This is, in fact, the Holy Grail of products.  Sell the Hardware (make money), sell Songs (make money), sell Videos (make money), sell Educational videos (make money),  sell apps (make money).  It’s what Sony did with the PS2, Nintendo with the DS and Wii, and Microsoft with the XBOX 360.

Innovation around new technology drives new uses because creative, smart designers build great products.   I’m confident with the ecosystem of chips, software providers, IP providers, and the USB-IF, USB 3.0 will be driven by both the creative designers, and the fun-loving consumers that need it.

USB 2.0 is now 9 years old.  It’s awesome, it’s still getting new uses.  It’s time for USB 3.0.

Cheerleading is done, back to work.

Watch Glee on Fox.  Also, Fringe, House, and Chuck.  And get a DVR, it’s the 21st century.

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