Report: USB to Continue Connecting

Universal Serial Bus (USB) technology will continue to be widely used for PCs and other electronics, and, with the help of wireless USB (WUSB), is poised to double in shipments from 1.4 billion in 2005 to 2.8 billion in 2010, research firm In-Stat reported this week.

The market forecast indicates USB will continue to connect PCs and peripherals, and will transition to higher transfer speeds and competing wireless enhancements.

However, the most significant growth in USB technology is likely to come from mobile phones, which will increasingly rely on smaller USB interconnection and data transfer technology, In-Stat senior analyst Brian O’Rourke told TechNewsWorld.

“Where it’s really ramping up is in mobile phones,” he said.

USB Growing Up

Today, the biggest issue for many PCc and other peripherals, including digital cameras and other mobile devices, is transitioning from full-speed USB to high-speed USB, according to In-Stat.

The research firm said PC users can expect a WUSB hub that connects PCs to printers, scanners, hard drives and other peripheral devices via PC plug-in dongle in the second half of this year.

In 2007, this “makeshift transition” solution will be embedded in PCs for simpler wireless USB connectivity, O’Rourke said.

“That’s when wireless [USB] should really begin to take off, because it will be much easier,” he said.

Tried, Tested and True

It is not surprising to see major growth projections for USB given that it is such a simple, no-hassle technology solution, Gartner Research Vice President Martin Reynolds told TechNewsWorld.

However, the current popularity and capability of USB connections might prolong the transition to faster USB technology, Reynolds added.

“It’s done us well over the last few years,” he said. “Nobody complains about it.”

As for WUSB, Reynolds said it is unlikely to appear in the market significantly until 2007. Once in the market, however, WUSB will penetrate the entire PC market, and within a couple of years, will be built into every PC that ships, he said.

Reynolds did indicate there may be issues with the lack of power for unplugged, WUSB connectivity, possibly requiring more battery energy from devices.

Mobile Connection

Although USB is currently rare in mobile phones, limited largely to Motorola’s Razr, the connection technology and a smaller port, in particular, are being pushed by the industry, O’Rourke said.

He explained that a new “micro USB port” that is smaller than the “mini USB port” would help promote mobile phone data transfer via USB, which is expected more in 2007.

O’Rourke also referred to WUSB issues, particularly in relation to new Ultra Wide-Band (UWB) technology. He added it would take a couple years before chip production and prices dropped enough for wide deployment of the new USB connections without cords.

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