To USB or Not to USB


Day 15 without an iPod Touch

So I’m waiting for the iPod Touch 4th generation.  Lots of reports now on the next generation one,  here’s one more article at PC World

New BlackBerry Curve (with faster USB 2.0)

In the meantime, my company (Synopsys) has issued me the new BlackBerry Curve which comes pre-installed with an MMC (Multi-Media Card) of 1GB.  In replaced it with 8GB MMC card, formatted it in the new BlackBerry, and I have a full 8 GB worth of space for holding files (data, music, video).  I can now use the BlackBerry as a portable USB Flash drive, music player, video player, camera, and video camera.  8 GB enough space to carry a backup of critical files and some music.  For the new BlackBerry, I also noticed that the USB Transfer time is much, much faster than my old BlackBerry.  Closer to proper USB 2.0 speeds.  This speaks to the variability in systems of USB 2.0 implementations.  Cheap IP, cheap controllers or PHYs can lead to a real drag on USB performance.  For example, If the USB eye for the PHY is bad, the speed can drop dramatically.

BlackBerry with micro-B

Many cameras still use the original mini-B receptacles, and I have a dozen of these cables.   This BlackBerry uses the “new” micro-B receptacle, so I had to buy a some new cables on Amazon for $2 which actually includes shipping.  The micro-B is flatter than the mini-B, and was designed to work better with smaller form-factor mobile phones.  This is of course the USB 2.0 Micro-B



On the left here you can see the USB 2.0 connectors.

Standard Type A on your PC and Laptops.

Type B on your Printer or Scanner.

Mini-B on most cameras.

Micro-B on the new BlackBerrys and some mobile phones




This is the USB 3.0 Micro-B connector below.

File:USB 3.0 Micro B plug.PNG

The right side is the micro-B, and the left side of are the new USB 3.0 signals.

The Need for USB 3.0

I heard 2 stories in the last week:

1) The VP of Marketing at MCCI filled up his HD Camcorder with 32 GB of video from recordings of his son’s activities.  He had never transferred data off the Camcorder in the 9 months he had the recorder.  It took him over 1 hour (he stopped keeping track) to get the video off his Camcorder using USB 2.0.   USB 3.0 could do this in minutes.

2) One of our Director’s of Engineering filled up his 2 GB SD card with video.  He couldn’t couldn’t complete the transfer of the file to his laptop before his camera just stopped working.  I’m not sure why, but it still took a long, long time.  Even 2 GB takes several minutes.  He came to me with the epiphany, “I really need USB 3.0.”

I said, “Yeah, I know.”

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