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No USB 3, A Vicious Cycle

by Tom Moccia | November 17, 2010November 17, 2010 6:00 pm PDT

Technology implementation has moved at a staggering rate over the last few years, and as I continue to read articles about this new technology and that new technology I can’t help but wonder why USB 3 has been so slow at widespread adoption. This became more evident a few weeks ago when Steve Jobs announced that USB 3 would not be implemented in the new Mac models anytime soon.

This development got me thinking as to why USB 3 has been so slow to roll out. Steve Jobs cites the fact that chip manufacturers, specifically Intel, has been slow to add support for USB 3 as indicated in the following statement from an email to a customer inquiry: “We don’t see USB 3 taking off at this time. No support from Intel, for example.”

usb_3_4I think the issue is even more simplified than Mr. Jobs states. Let’s look at external hard drives for instance, manufacturers such as Western Digital and Seagate are not going to go through the trouble and expense of making products with USB 3 if computer makers don’t dive into the USB 3 pool. There is an exorbitant cost to manufacturing lines to produce USB 3 devices instead of USB 2, after which production schedules must be adhered to to supply demand of both devices.

The problem lies herein manufacturers of devices will not go through the time and expense to produce devices that have USB 3 compatibility if computer manufacturers don’t start building the protocol into their existing machines. It comes down to the old “what came first the chicken or the egg” scenario and a vicious cycle begins.

On the other hand, once one of the sides commits to implementation of USB 3, I feel it will take off and frankly, I believe that responsibility lies on the part of the device makers and not the computer manufacturers. As consumers the incremental speeds and benefits are not exponential therefore we can live without USB 3, hence little public demand for implementation.

USB 3 will no doubt start to show inroads in the coming years and sooner than later we will all be using this protocol and forget about USB 2 just as we have forgotten about USB 1. Until then feel safe that your external hard drives and other devices are safe and still the top dog.

Tom Moccia

Tom Moccia is a native of Stamford, Connecticut and moved his family west in 2000 and now calls Stockton, California home with his wife and two...