The USB 3.0 Promoter Group today announced development of an updated USB 3.0 specification that will offer double the data performance of existing devices, with max speeds reaching 10Gbps. The higher throughput — which brings USB closer to the class-leading Thunderbolt standard — comes thanks to revised (but still backwards compatible) hardware and more efficient data transfer. The USB Implementers Forum says the updated specification should be completed by the middle of 2013 and will find its way to consumer hardware like external hard drives approximately twelve months thereafter.

Despite also playing a central role in Thunderbolt's development, Intel has pledged to waste no time in adopting the faster USB 3.0. "We recognize that more mainstream client computing applications are going to need higher throughput to user-connected peripherals and devices," said Alex Peleg, VP of Intel's Architecture Group. USB 3.0 adoption showed a healthy uptick in 2012, with over 720 certified devices now on the market — twice that of 2011's total.