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Intel said to be unwilling to share USB 3.0 toys

Even though SuperSpeed's not even standard yet

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Computex Intel's apparently not too keen on other chipset makers building USB 3.0 - aka SuperSpeed USB - into their products. To that end, one website claims, the chip giant's not sharing its toys.

According to a story over at Fudzilla, it's being whispered around Taipei among the vendors gathered for Computex, that "at this time you cannot expect any USB 3.0 designs based on Intel's reference spec design from anyone but Intel".

The article's implication is clear: Intel is keeping all this stuff to itself for competitive advantage.

We think it's really too soon to say. For starters, the USB 3.0 specification isn't done and dusted yet - though it's due "mid-2008", according to past Intel prognostications.

SuperSpeed USB roadmap

The SuperSpeed USB roadmap

The timetable for the technology then calls for product development - chips that support the interconnect, and devices that'll use them to control ports - to run through well into 2009, with the first products going on sale round about that time.

The standard USB 3 receptacle

USB 3.0 at the socket...

Widespread adoption of the technology isn't expected until 2010.

The standard USB 3 connector

...and the connector

There are more USB 3.0 connector pics here.

It's true that Intel is leading the development of USB 3.0, but it's not the only company doing so: Texas Instruments, Microsoft, HP and NEC are working on it too. Back in November 2007, Intel and its fellow USB 3.0 Promoter Group (PG) members called on other industry names to participate.

USB 3.0 is an evolution of USB 2.0 that adds to take the bandwidth up to 4.7Gb/s. It's plug-compatible with USB 2.0. Five extra connectors - two input lanes, two output lanes and a ground - are used to deliver extra, faster data-transfer lines but which don't engage with the connectors found in current USB products.

Once the spec's there, any chip maker can join the USB Implementers' Forum, get a copy and begin developing SuperSpeed USB silicon, be they VIA, Nvidia or AMD. In any case, it's the standard that's open, not the hardware derived from it, whether that's a "reference design" from Intel or anyone else.

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