USB 4 standard based on Thunderbolt, cross-compatible back to USB 2.0

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This will likely cause some growing pains at the onset not unlike the forthcoming USB 3.2 debacle, but eventually all USB ports will use the Type-C form factor and USB4 standard.

USB4 will also be backward compatible with all USB specifications and all Thunderbolt 3 devices. Intel's standard is much faster, meaning Thunderbolt 3 accessories are often superior to regular USB-C models.

On Monday, the USB Promoter Group announced the new spec is ready to be revealed, just a week after details of the latest iteration of the current standard - USB 3.2 - was released.

As for the physical connector, USB4 will be a Type-C connection, similarly to Thunderbolt 3. Also Thunderbolt 3 will now be available to more companies to use - without the fees formerly attached to the speedy technology - so companies have one fewer excuse for why it's not in their products. The USB-IF is weird when it comes to actually naming things, as we see with USB 3.0 (which is really USB 3.1 Gen. 1) or USB 3.2 (USB 3.2 Gen. 2x2). You can send nearly anything over USB as long as it is a supported protocol.

At Mobile World Congress last week, the USB Implementers Forum made a decision to change up the wild and insane world of USB by renaming what's now known as "USB 3.2" - the latest and speediest standard expected to hit PCs later this year - as well as USB 3.0 and USB 3.1. That's finally happening, with the technology being integrated into USB 4. Right now, there are only 463 certified Thunderbolt 3 devices on the market. This follows from Intel's promise to make Thunderbolt 3 royalty free.

Intel previously said it was planning to integrate Thunderbolt 3 into future Intel CPUs beginning with Intel's upcoming 10nm processor codenamed Ice Lake.

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"The USB4 solution specifically tailors bus operation to further enhance this [by] enabling the further doubling of performance".

Then there's USB 3.2 (max 20Gbps) which is now known as USB 3.2 gen 2x2.

This does NOT, however, mean that all USB Type-C cables will offer 20GB speeds.

50 companies including Intel, which co-engineered Thunderbolt with Apple, contributed to the new standard. Existing Thunderbolt 3 cables should be fine to continue to use with USB4 but if you have a USB 3.x cable with Type-C connectors, you may have to upgrade to make the most of the new options available.

USB4 is based on Thunderbolt, backwards compatible with USB 3.2, 2.0, and Thunderbolt 3, and about twice as fast as USB 3.2 Gen2x2.

As The Verge points out, the USB-IF expects manufacturers to take around 18 months to start producing USB4 devices once the specification is finalized.

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