Intel to Take Wraps Off USB 2.0 Specification

NEW ORLEANS (04/25/2000) - Intel Corp. here on Thursday will announce the release of the final specification of USB 2.0, which is expected to transfer data between devices at a rate of up to 40 times faster than current USB (Universal Serial Bus) specs, according to Intel officials.

Pat Gelsinger, vice president and general manager of Intel's Desktop products group, will announce the release of the new high bandwidth spec during his keynote address here at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC).

The finalized specification is expected to be a launch pad for products with more functionality, increase efficiency in a networked business environment, and will enable users to operate multiple outboard peripherals at the same time, according to Intel.

Timed with Gelsinger's announcement, a copy of the spec will be published on the USB Special Interest group's Web site at www.usb.org. A copy of one of the first publicly announced USB 2.0 host-controllers from NEC will also be posted on the site.

As hardware development begins under the new spec, the first generation of USB 2.0 linked systems will require a "discreet host-controller" that is fixed on the motherboard or as an off-board component to optimize the data throughput.

Intel officials said not to expect an integrated USB 2.0 host-controller until early 2001.

Products utilizing discreet host-controllers will be available later this year.

To assure interoperability between vendors, the new USB 2.0 specification was derived through the cooperation of over 50 different companies, including Acer, Mitsubishi, NEC, and Philips, with Intel taking the point position for the announcement.

Intel will also host the USB 2.0 Developer's Conference in Anaheim, California, between May 15-18 for participating vendors to display prototypes, and show product demos.

Intel Corp., based in Santa Clara, California, is at www.intel.com.

Dan Neel is an InfoWorld reporter.

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