Wednesday, February 27, 2019 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Confusing USB 3.2 Branding

Juli Clover (via Marco Arment):

Going forward, USB 3.1 Gen 1 (transfer speeds up to 5Gb/s), which used to be USB 3.0 prior to a separate rebranding, will be called USB 3.2 Gen 1, while USB 3.1 Gen 2 (transfer speeds up to 10Gb/s) will now be known as USB 3.2 Gen 2.

What used to be considered USB 3.2 will now be USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 because if offers twice the throughput speeds of USB 3.1 Gen 2, now USB 3.2 Gen 2. If that sounds confusing to you, you’re not alone.

Peter Bright (Hacker News):

What this branding meant is that many manufacturers say that a device supports “USB 3.1" even if it’s only a “USB 3.1 Gen 1" device running at 5Gb/s. Meanwhile, other manufacturers do the sensible thing: they use “USB 3.0" to denote 5Gb/s devices and reserve “USB 3.1" for 10Gb/s parts.


The good part of all this is that USB 3.2 could mean 5, 10, or 20Gbps. You can bet that there will be manufacturers who are going to exploit that confusion wherever and whenever they can.



Based on looking at the chart on MacRumors, why didn't the USB-IF just call the products USB 3.0, 3.1, and 3.2 since that's the "specification" name anyway? That sounds easy enough. If I want a 20Gbps USB device all I need to know is to look for "USB 3.2" on the product specs.

I fail to see any need to rename them all as USB 3.2 + Gen 1, 2, 2x2. WTF? Making it all some long and weird naming variant of "USB 3.2" doesn't make sense.

Obscurantism 101

It's very simple. The USB Implementers Forum represents companies trying to sell as many USB devices as possible. When "USB 3.2" comes out, "USB 3.1" becomes less desirable, which is a problem because all existing products are "USB 3.1."

Solution: anybody with the money to slap a new sticker on their existing hardware remains competitive, no need for actually engineering a new product. Naming these products is no different than CPUs & video cards. Consumer confusion is the goal. That confused environment lets their marketing convince customers of whatever they want. In a commodity environment, a clear hierarchy of capabilities is seen as a threat to everyone chasing the lowest possible margin.

[…] Previously: Confusing USB 3.2 Branding. […]

Wow! I had no idea about that little bit of trivia. Thanks for the link!

Stay up-to-date by subscribing to the Comments RSS Feed for this post.

Leave a Comment