Analysts Increase Shipments Projections for USB 3.0

14 Million SuperSpeed USB Devices Shipped in 2010

by Anton Shilov
12/22/2010 | 04:16 PM

Even though shipments of devices with SuperSpeed USB interconnection were a bit lower than expected originally, analysts from In-Stat market research firm increased their USB 3.0 penetration estimates rather noticeably. According to researchers, the future for the latest universal interconnection is still bright.


SuperSpeed USB will ship in nearly 14 million devices in 2010, just short of industry expectations, according to In-Stat.  By 2014, however, over 1.7 billion devices will ship with the interface enabled, a 12x increase over 2010, and 200 million higher than the company predicted back in April, 2010. Among 1.7 billion of devices with USB 3.0 interconnection about 225 million will be flash drives. The firm also predicts that nearly 7 million set top boxes will have integrated SuperSpeed USB by 2014 and that the USB 3.0 will reach 40% penetration in the portable digital media player market in five years.

“Late 2009 saw the first, limited shipments of SuperSpeed, while 2010 has seen increased shipments in mobile PCs, desktop PCs, aftermarket cards, external hard disk drives, and USB flash drives. Overall, the rollout of USB 3.0 is progressing. Large scale adoption though is still dependent on the integration of SuperSpeed into the core logic chipset on the PC.  This allows PC OEMs to effectively offer USB 3.0 for free, and leads to its adoption among PC peripherals, consumer electronics, and mobile devices," said Brian O’Rourke, principal analyst at In-Stat.

Unfortunately, there will be no "native" USB 3.0 platforms for some time as Intel Corp. does not have plans to support SuperSpeed USB with 6-series chipsets, whereas AMD will support it on select I/O controllers. But due to the fact that external USB 3.0 controllers are getting cheaper as more chip vendors enter the SS USB market, it is clear that sales of USB 3.0 equipment will increase in 2011.

It should be also kept in mind that while there are a lot of devices that require up to 400MB/s of bandwidth, such as external hard drives, USB flash drives, external optical drives, portable media players, digital still cameras and digital camcorders; there are also a lot of devices that do not need truly high bandwidth, including keyboards, mice, scanners, printers, multi-function peripherals, web cameras and so on.

In addition, since SuperSpeed USB driver is not present in Microsoft Windows 7 and it should be installed separately so that to take advantage of enhanced bandwidth, Intel argues that until a new version of Windows arrives with integrated USB 3.0 driver, there will be no widespread adoption of the new interface.

More than 3 billion USB-enabled devices shipped in 2009; nearly 4 billion will ship in 2012, according to predictions by In-Stat.