Aug 10 2010

Falling Prices, Growing Demand for SuperSpeed USB

With all the benefits of SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0) – including faster speeds, bidirectional data interface and lower power consumption – consumers are eager to adopt this cutting-edge technology. Until this point, one of the main hurdles slowing widespread adoption has been the price of chips. However, NEC, the first company to ship a SuperSpeed USB host controller, is looking to change that. The company reportedly plans to significantly reduce prices for its first- and second-generation USB 3.0 chips later this year.

NEC’s third-generation USB chip models are scheduled to start shipping in Q1 2010, priced at less than $2. Other companies, including ASMedia (an Asus subsidiary), Etron, VIA and Fresco Logic, have all introduced price cuts for SuperSpeed USB products as well, with ASMedia dipping as low as $1.70 per chip for bulk orders.

Market watchers are predicting that 20 million SuperSpeed USB chips will ship by the end of the year, followed by 40 million shipments in 2011. With these dramatic price drops and a growing number of USB 3.0 certified devices, it’s likely that consumers won’t have to wait much longer for widespread adoption.

Lower prices and an increasing number of shipments mean manufacturers have the tools they need to take advantage of the demand for lower-cost SuperSpeed USB products. But despite the falling price of chips, developers still need to be aware of the costs associated with test development and product design validation. By pairing with a certified product development and testing company such as Allion, offering end-to-end validation solutions, developers can improve time-to-market and reduce overall costs, a savings which can then be passed on to consumers eagerly awaiting new SuperSpeed USB devices.

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