High price of USB chip slows down adoption

I’ve been surprised at how few of the vendors I’ve met since I came to Taipei have motherboards with USB 3.0 onboard.

But that became clear today when we met a motherboard vendor who said that the high price of a chip, and Intel, were making people a little nervous about pushing ahead.

The chip cost $9 a pop, the source from the vendor told us, while the number of peripherals available isn’t that high. The other reason for slowing adoption was that Intel is expected to introduce a chipset either at the end of this year or early next year – codenamed Sugarbay – that will have USB 3.0 integrated inside.

Despite that, the USB 3.0 developers’ organisation held a conference in Taiwan today and said that 75 Superspeed USB products had been adopted. IDC is quite cautious about adoption too – Shane Rau, director of IDC, said that it forecast USB 3.0 will ship in 45 percent of notebooks, but not until 2012.

The one company we have visited that has plenty of USB 3.0 motherboards either ready now, or in the offing, is Asus.

Jeff Ravencraft, president and chairman of USB-IF is far from modest about the adoption of USB 3.0. In a prepared statement today he said that “Superspeed USB momentum continues to explode”.