USB 3.0 Adoption Still Slow Going in 2013


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For years now, computers and motherboards have been shipping with USB 3.0 ports. Though the capabilities are built out, the total market for USB 3.0 products remains slow.

Market research firm TrendForce today revealed new USB 3.0 data, specifically highlighting the failure of the USB 3.0 flash drive market to take off. The firm estimates that market penetration for USB 3.0 flash drives will only hit 10% by the end of this year. This is based on second quarter numbers showing USB 3.0 flash drive shipments only topped 5 to 6 million units, with a market share of 5%. The report predicts that market leaders will soon take control of the USB 3.0 market segment.

TrendForce blames the slow growth of USB 3.0 to both NAND Flash prices and the low cost of USB 2.0 manufacturing. However, next year could finally be the technology's big year, with estimates of up to 25% market share in 2014 being thrown around. NAND Flash supply is predicted to improve starting in the second half of this year, and less costly USB 3.0 controller ICs are also slated to be released in the coming months.

For now, the USB 3.0 market seems to be in a bind. According to the TrendForce report, slow acceptance of USB 3.0 is leading to business pressure on manufacturers. These same manufacturers are then squeezed to invest in the technology, particularly in the manufacturing capacities that would put USB 3.0 more in line with USB 2.0 manufacturing costs. These pressures, according to the report, will lead to a contraction where "5 or 6" major USB 3.0 controller IC manufacturers supply the majority of the market.

(Image courtesy Rainer Knäpper via Wikimedia Commons)