USB cables may soon deliver up to 100 watts of power to devices including laptops and external hard drives, after the publication of a new USB Power Delivery specification. Announced by the USB 3.0 Promoter Group, which includes companies such as Microsoft, Intel and Hewlett-Packard (HP), the specification relies on specially-certified cables for full 100-watt performance. A system for dynamically checking cable type will allow consumers to re-use existing equipment for lower-power applications.

Promoter Group chairman Brad Saunders hails the new specification as a step towards "eliminating proprietary, platform-specific chargers" completely, describing a future where laptops are charged via "standardized USB power bricks." As Engadget points out, the spec is also a significant boon in USB 3.0's ongoing battle with Apple and Intel's Thunderbolt standard, which is limited to providing 10 watts of power.