USB4 spec announced, will be based upon Thunderbolt 3

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This will likely cause some growing pains at the onset not unlike the forthcoming USB 3.2 debacle, but eventually all USB ports will use the Type-C form factor and USB4 standard. It will maintain backwards compatibility with previous Thunderbolt generations as well as the various flavours of USB 2 and 3.

The standard is set to support 40Gbps speeds and the Thunderbolt 3.0 standard - following Intel opening the licencing of the technology to manufacturers.

The USB Promoter Group has just announced a new USB4 specification, which bridges USB and Thunderbolt together.

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With USB4, Thunderbolt 3 is now "built-in" and that means a couple of great things just became much cheaper for device makers to include:100 watts of power on demand, those 40 Gbps transfer rates, and support for eight lanes of DisplayPort data which means two 4K HDR displays at 60 Hz or one 5K display is fully supported.

USB 3.2 has been kicking around since 2017, but recent stirrings at MWC 2019 indicate that we should be seeing the technology actually land on shipping devices soon. The standard supports up to 40GB/s opposed to 20GB/s which USB 3.2 supported.

Intel's Thunderbolt 3 uses the USB-C connector, which is sort of confusing. That's because the USB-C port can be a Thunderbolt port, but it can also be a standard USB 3.x port. Right now, there are only 463 certified Thunderbolt 3 devices on the market. "This, in combination with the integration of Thunderbolt 3 into upcoming Intel processors is a win-win for the industry and consumers". “The USB4 solution specifically tailors bus operation to further enhance this experience by optimizing the blend of data and display over a single connection and enabling the further doubling of performance.”. The event will provide detailed technical training on the new specification along with USB Type-C cable and USB Power Delivery training. And that's nearly double the speed of the previous version, USB 3.2 that delivers up to 20Gbps.

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The promotor group comprises companies such as Apple, HP, Intel, and Microsoft. Finally. This is a direct result of Intel's push to make Thunderbolt more widely available (without royalties). And those cables will need to be USB-C cables, so this will hasten the death of the old-style USB-A interface.

Making Thunderbolt available to everyoneThunderbolt 3 has been available for a few years now but by using it as a royalty-free foundation for the future USB standard it will reach far more users.

With that said, you shouldn't expect any USB4 devices until 2020 at the earliest.

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