Here's some jolly news for Digicam owners (assuming more manufacturers actually implement USB)...480 Mbs Announcement Coincides With Specification Draft Release to Industry.

"A group of seven PC industry leaders announced today that the target speed of Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2.0 is 40 times faster than the existing USB 1.1. The achievement is anticipated to further build on the momentum of USB into more demanding user applications, such as image creation and interactive gaming. "

The target speed of USB 2.0 is 480 Megabits per second (Mbs), as announced by the USB 2.0 Promoter Group, consisting of Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Lucent, Microsoft, NEC and Philips. The target speed announcement coincides with the release of the USB 2.0 specification draft to industry developers here. The specification draft enables vendors to begin their product planning and development of USB 2.0 products.

``The revised and significantly higher target rate provides an effective upgrade path for today's USB peripherals. It is the result of engineering studies and test silicon that concluded that 480 Mbs can be achieved while still maintaining full compatibility with USB 1.1,'' said Jim Pappas, director of Intel's technology initiatives.

The previous target speed range of between 360 and 480 Mbs was announced by the Promoter Group in August at the Intel Developer Forum.

Benefits of USB 2.0

The increased bandwidth of USB 2.0 opens the door for PC peripherals with more functionality, including faster broadband internet connections, higher resolution video conferencing cameras, next generation printers and scanners and fast external storage units. USB 2.0 also will make today's applications more productive. For example:

  • Consumers with digital cameras using USB 2.0 technology will be able to download a "roll" of digital film in seconds, compared to minutes on the earlier version of USB.
  • Consumers can back up a gigabyte of data from their PC hard drive in less than a minute on USB 2.0 versus about a half-hour on USB 1.1.
  • Scanners can create a high-resolution digital image in seconds on USB 2.0, versus minutes on USB 1.1.

Because USB 2.0 is an evolution of the existing USB 1.1 specification, it will be fully forward and backward compatible with current USB systems and peripherals. Even with the new speed target, USB 2.0 will work with existing cables and connectors.

``Compatibility brings added benefits,'' Pappas said. ``Consumers can continue to use the same peripherals and cables that were purchased for USB 1.1, so their investments are protected. On the other side of the retail counter, peripheral vendors will see additional sales opportunities as they can sell new high-speed peripherals into the entire installed base of USB-capable systems.''

What does this mean? Well, at full speed you'd be able to download 64MB of images in just over a second.