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USB-IF Announces Publication of USB4 Specification

USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the support organization for the advancement and adoption of USB technology, today announced the publication of the USB4 specification, a major update to deliver the next-generation USB architecture that complements and builds upon the existing USB 3.2 and USB 2.0 architectures. The USB4 architecture is based on the Thunderbolt protocol specification recently contributed by Intel Corporation to the USB Promoter Group. It doubles the maximum aggregate bandwidth of USB and enables multiple simultaneous data and display protocols.

The development of the USB4 specification was first announced in March 2019 by the USB Promoter Group. It is now officially published by USB-IF and available for download here.

USB-IF Rebrands USB 3.0 and 3.1 With New USB 3.2 20Gbps Standard

You would have thought that the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) would have learned their lesson the first time around with the rebranding of USB standards; however, that doesn't seem to be the case. At MWC 2019, they announced that the USB 3.2 standard would include the previous USB 3.0 and 3.1 specifications, but with a twist. USB 3.0, which has a data rate of 5Gbps, had already been rebranded as USB 3.1 Gen 1, will now once again be rebranded as USB 3.2 Gen 1. Meanwhile, USB 3.1 Gen 2 with a data rate of 10Gbps will be renamed USB 3.2 Gen 2. Finally, the new kid on the block which has a data rate of 20Gbps will be officially named USB 3.2 Gen 2x2.

While there is a reason for these names, the fact remains that it doesn't do consumers any favors. USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 gets its name from the two high-speed 10Gbps channels it uses to achieve the new data rate. Keep in mind that previous USB standards only allowed for one channel, and only USB Type-C connectors allow for dual channels. This, as you may have guessed by now, means USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 is only usable via USB Type-C connectors. To try and reduce confusion, USB-IF has suggested that vendors use marketing terms on top of the current naming scheme to help consumers understand what is what in the world of USB. USB 3.0 USB 3.1 Gen 1 USB 3.2 Gen 1 will be marketed as SuperSpeed USB, and USB 3.2 Gen 2 will be marketed as SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps as per our sources. Finally, the newest standard will use SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps as its marketing term, not that it will do much if implementation of the new standard will take as long as it took for USB 3.2 Gen 2 and the Type-C connector.

USB-IF Launches USB Type-C Authentication Program

USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the support organization for the advancement and adoption of USB technology, today announced the launch of its USB Type-C Authentication Program, marking an important milestone for the optional USB security protocol. The USB Type-C Authentication specification defines cryptographic-based authentication for USB Type-C chargers and devices.

USB Type-C Authentication empowers host systems to protect against non-compliant USB chargers and to mitigate risks from malicious firmware/hardware in USB devices attempting to exploit a USB connection. Using this protocol, host systems can confirm the authenticity of a USB device, USB cable or USB charger, including such product aspects as the capabilities and certification status. All of this happens right at the moment a connection is made - before inappropriate power or data can be transferred.

"USB-IF is excited to launch the USB Type-C Authentication Program, providing OEMs with the flexibility to implement a security framework that best fits their specific product requirements," said USB-IF President and COO Jeff Ravencraft. "As the USB Type-C ecosystem continues to grow, companies can further provide the security that consumers have come to expect from certified USB devices."

USB-IF Publishes HID Standard for Braille Displays

USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the support organization for the advancement and adoption of USB technology, today announced a USB HID (Human Interface Device) standard for braille displays, representing a collaborative step toward greater technological accessibility for people who are blind or have low vision. The standard will make it easier to use a braille display across operating systems and different types of hardware. It will also simplify development, removing the need for braille devices to have custom software and drivers created for a particular operating system or screen reader.

"This is another great example of how USB-IF device class specifications can improve people's lives," said USB-IF President and COO Jeff Ravencraft. "With more than 1,000 members worldwide, USB-IF brings companies together to improve access to technology and provide a seamless user experience."

"We see the opportunity that advancements in technology can create for people with disabilities and have a responsibility as an industry to develop new ways of empowering everyone to achieve more," said Jeff Petty, Windows accessibility program manager lead at Microsoft. "Developing a HID standard for braille displays is one example of how we can work together, across the industry, to advance technology in a way that benefits society and ultimately improve the unemployment rate for people with disabilities."
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