If you're looking solely at transfer rates, the USB 3.0 specification – with its 5Gbps speeds – may be plenty fast, but it already can't push the same amount of raw data as, say, Thunderbolt. New specifications coming down the pipeline, like SATA Express and external PCIe , are promising speeds that flat-out blow USB 3.0 out of the water. The USB Promoter Group's aiming to stay in the race with an innovative tactic; rather than compete solely with transfer rates, they're also turning the familiar USB connection into the equivalent of a 100W power cord.
"Charging the battery of a notebook PC, or simply powering that notebook PC while actively using the USB data connection, would be possible," Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group Chairman, explains. "Conceivably, a notebook PC could rely solely on a USB connection for its source of power.”
Don't expect your PC to power your laptop anytime soon, though; the new specification isn't even expected to head into the peer review stage until later this year. The Promoter Group hopes to start implementation of the standard early 2012.