Intel and friends working on USB power source

A consortium which seems to be lead by Intel, the USB 3.0 Promoter Group, has announced a power delivery specification to improve the cable bus in USB. 

Intel’s involvement is interesting considering how long it dragged its heels on integrated USB 3.0 chips, compared to AMD. Anyway, along with Microsoft, what is left of HP, Renesas Electronics, ST-Ericsson and Texas Instruments, Intel will introduce the technology to the USB Implementers Forum in early 2012.

It’s compatible with all the existing stuff and its voltage and current values can be manipulated through USB power pins. The platform can take higher voltage, with power up to 100W, as well as a switchable source for delivering power. It, says the group, sits alongside USB Battery Charging 1.2 and is compatible with both 2.0 and 3.0.

What it sounds like to us is a new kind of USB bus power which will go some way towards developing universal chargers. Of course, there are worries that certain companies with locked-in ecosystems will not want to play ball on that front, but it at least demonstrates the potential.

According to Intel, the platform is to charge a broad range of mobile devices.

In a statement, Brad Saunders, speaking as the USB 3.0 Promoter Group Chairman but with an @intel.com email address, says “Charging the battery of a notebook PC, or simply powering that notebook PC while actively using the USB data connection, would be possible.” 

Saunders says it’d be possible for a notebook to run just on a USB connection as its source of power. 

There will be more at IDF next week.