Helping make it easier to connect devices to PCs
What is USB?
The Universal Serial Bus (USB) is the most successful interface in the history
of personal computing. It has migrated heavily into mobile and consumer
electronics (CE) segments and also met with great success there.
A serial bus standard for connecting external and internal devices to a
computer, USB is ...designed to allow many peripherals to be connected using
a single standardized interface socket. Intel helped develop the original USB
standard and continues to contribute to its advancement.
USB improves "plug and play" capabilities by enabling hot swapping — the
connection and disconnection of devices without rebooting the computer or
turning off the device. Other convenient USB features include:
Providing power to low power consumption devices so there's no need
for an external power supply or battery charger
Allowing devices to charge their batteries over USB
Enabling many devices to be used without the installation of
manufacturer-specific device drivers
Today USB is used to connect a wide range of computer peripherals, such as
mice, keyboards, gamepads, cell phones, PDAs, printers, scanners, digital
cameras and camcorders, personal media players, flash drives, and external
hard drives. For these devices, USB is the most common connection method.
As of 2008, there are 6 billion USB products in the install base and the
industry is shipping more than 2 billion units per year — and this number
continues to grow.
In the early 1990s, peripheral devices — such as scanners, printers, and
PDAs — each had their own complicated installation procedure. At the same
time, because of the power and popularity of the PC, more and more of
these peripherals were being created. People needed a faster, easier, less
frustrating way to connect these devices without having to add cards to the
PC and reboot the system.
Seeing the problem both computer owners and device manufacturers were
having because there was no uniform, consistent way to connect to the PC,
Intel took action.
• Formed the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) in 1995 with other
industry players to support and accelerate market and consumer
adoption of USB-compliant peripherals. Today, USB-IF has more than
800 member companies, and the Board of Directors is comprised of
representatives from Hewlett-Packard Company, Intel Corporation, LSI
Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, NEC Corporation, and ST-Ericsson.
• Contributed technology from Intel Research and Development
designed to enable higher speed connections and plug and play
• Helped develop an open industry specification with a royalty-free
intellectual property (IP) licensing obligation.
• Encouraged adoption of the specification by implementing it in Intel
products (e.g., Intel released chipsets in May 2002 which integrated Hi-
Speed USB 2.0 in the I/O Controller Hub, ICH4, and future versions of
the I/O Controller Hub).
• Aided the rapid introduction of USB 2.0 by developing an Enhanced
Host Controller Interface specification (EHCI) at Intel's own expense and
made it available to the industry through a royalty-free licensing
program. This specification
Read the full Intel and USB.