The new ultra-fast USB 3.0 standard, which should have a data transfer rate of 600 mbps, is planned to launch early in 2008. It is being developed by Intel, HP, Microsoft, NEC, NXP Semiconductors and Texas Instruments (no British involvement there, as is usual these days, sadly).

USB 3.0 will be backwards-compatible with earlier versions but will also be "future-proofed", with optical cabling. Furthermore, it will be designed for lower power consumption.

The current technology, USB 2.0, which was released in 2000, has a maximum data rate of 60 mbps. USB 1.0 managed 192 kbps back in 1996. Which is plenty fast enough for keyboards, mice and joysticks (all of which are now referred to as human-interface devices, or HIDís, apparently). smile