Too many USB3 drivers
Similarly, Microsoft is not ready to enable USB3 natively in Windows. The company has no schedule yet for when it will supply a USB3 driver for Windows 7 or any flavor of Windows, said Lars Guisti, Microsoft program manager for USB.
"We need more devices to test," he said.
Engineers worry in the vacuum of software from Redmond, a flood of third-party drivers will emerge over the next year, creating an interoperability nightmare. That's essentially what happened with first-gen USB products, driving Microsoft to ship a USB 2.0 driver early in the technology's release.
Unfortunately, this time Microsoft does not seem to be ready to be fast to market. The company is in the early stages of developing a new USB software stack, Guisti said. Microsoft has worked with current USB3 controller makers and is trying to get in its labs other chips and systems it can test as soon as possible to mitigate the situation.
Meanwhile, Asustek has shown a motherboard using the NEC controller it said could be in production within two weeks of the volume release of the NEC chip.
An engineer from ST Ericsson said USB3 will be needed for next-generation laptop modules for LTE. The second-gen notebook modules aim to hit data rates up to 600 Mbits/second, far beyond USB 2.0 capabilities.
The USB3 technology will be affordable for the LTE modules which should emerge by 2012, said Morten Christiansen, a senior systems designer at ST Ericsson. "It's perfectly feasible to integrate a USB3 block [into an apps processor], the difficult part if the analog parts of the transceiver," he said.