SAN JOSE, Calif. – As many as 1.7 billion devices will ship with the USB 3.0 interface in 2014, up from just 14 million in 2010, according to a new report from market watcher In-Stat.
The so-called SuperSpeed USB interface promises maximum data rates up to 5 GHz, but its take off has been slow to date for several reasons. Intel has declined to commit to a date for integrating the interface in its PC chip sets, and Microsoft has not provided native USB 3.0 drivers in Windows, citing a lack of hardware to test.
"Large scale adoption is still dependent on the integration of SuperSpeed [USB] into the core logic chipset on the PC," said Brian O’Rourke, principal analyst in In-Stat's multimedia interface service. "This allows PC OEMs to effectively offer SuperSpeed for free, and leads to its adoption among PC peripherals, consumer electronics, and mobile devices,” he said, speaking in a press statement.
NEC said in March it had sold three million USB 3.0 controllers and expected to sell 20 million in 2010. However, In-Stat projected only 14 million devices were sold this year. Sources said Intel delayed until June 2010 the release of standard for the USB 3.0 external controller, slowing market adoption.
In September, the USB Implementer's Forum announced it had tested and certified 120 USB 3.0 products, including motherboards and notebooks. Nevertheless, growth in USB 2.0 devices outpaced growth in USB 3.0 this year, said In-Stat in a separate report.
Intel is expected to roll USB 3.0 support into chip sets for its Sandy Bridge processors debuting in 2011. However, the company hasn't confirmed its plans yet.
Even in 2014, USB 2.0 will still command the brunt of the USB market, said In-Stat. In addition, USB 1.1 devices will still be shipping in volumes of about 500 million units in 2014, it said.
Nevertheless, USB 3.0 is poised to make in-roads in a wide variety of systems according to the report. By 2014, USB 3.0 could be used in 225 million flash drives, seven million set-top boxes and 40 percent of all digital media players, the company forecasted.
Nearly 200 million digital TVs will ship with some flavor of USB in 2014, it added.