Looks like USB is about to get an upgrade to the imaginative name of USB 3.0.
This latest announcement was made at the first SuperSpeed USB Development Conference held today. USB 3.0 looks to be ten times faster than USB 2.0 with better power distribution to devices and improved power management.
Read the announcement PDF here
Responsibility for the new specification fell to the USB 3.0 Promoter Group, which consists of HP, Microsoft, Intel, NEC, Texas Instruments and ST-NXP Wireless. They expect the first standalone controllers to hit the market in the second half of 2009, with consumer products arriving in 2010. Data-rich devices, such as hard-drives and high-definition camcorders, are expected to be the first products to take advantage of the backward-compatible connection.
As well as speed, energy efficiency has also been addressed in USB 3.0. While the connection can supply greater bus power to individual devices, reducing the need for a standalone PSU, improved power management means that overall energy use is in fact down.