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It’s only a week before the first event of USB Developer Days, a series of meetings for USB developers, where the USB 3.2 specification will be formally announced. Much like with any recent smartphone announcement, we know pretty much everything about the new standard before it’s formally announced. We know that the big news is the 20Gbps support, twice the performance of the previous (USB 3.1 Gen 2) standard, which is enabled by using the second high-speed signal pair of the USB Type-C connector. Is the USB 3.2 then something more of an iPhone 8-like incremental update, or iPhone X-like revolution for the USB industry?
A bit of both, I would say. An argument to see it as an incremental update is in the list of changes needed to support the new standard, as there aren’t many. As the USB Type-C connector already features two high speed differential signal pairs, it’s a matter of enabling support for simultaneous transfer through both in USB PHY and controller IP, which is actually already supported in products like the Cadence Multiprotocol PHY IP.
Still, one can also view it as an iPhone X kind of change, as finally all USB specs come together and enable utilizing each other to the full extent, much like the new iPhone screen utilizes the full real estate of the front panel that’s been available for years. And USB Type-C is a revolution for not only USB users, but the industry in general. Hey, even the iPhone X can get charged quicker if you use a USB Type-C cable, something that was not available in any previous generation of the device!
All in all, USB 3.2 may not be the most important update to the USB specification, but it’s a step that ensures all pieces of the USB puzzle match, and further strengthen the USB position as the de facto standard for wired consumer interfaces.