When SuperSpeed USB was first introduced in 2007, the branding was a clear differentiator. The term first appeared with USB 3.0, which increased maximum data transfer rates from 0.48Gbps in USB 2.0 to 5Gbps in USB 3.0. However, by 2022, consumers would have three versions of SuperSpeed USB in various connector types, as well as the potentially faster USB4.
USB products will continue to have varying performance capabilities while looking the same, but “SuperSpeed” is no longer a useful differentiator.
By 2019, when the USB-IF, which creates USB standards, renamed USB 3.0 to USB 3.1 Gen 1; USB 3.1 to USB 3.1 Gen 2, and then USB 3.2 Gen 2; and USB 3.2 to USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, SuperSpeed branding had become fairly unremarkable. The group aimed to make things easier for consumers by advising vendors to label products with “SuperSpeed USB” followed by the maximum speed rather than the specification name.
According to The Verge, the USB-IF now recommends that vendors label products as USB 20Gbps (for USB 3.2 Gen 2×2), USB 10Gbps (for USB 3.2 Gen 2), and so on. There’s no need for SuperSpeed.
Meanwhile, USB4 is treated similarly, with the USB-IF recommending USB 40Gbps and USB 20Gbps branding for the spec. When it is released, USB4 Version 2.0 should be known as USB 80Gbps.
“USB4 Version 1.0, USB Version 2.0, USB 3.2, SuperSpeed Plus, Enhanced SuperSpeed, and SuperSpeed+ are defined in the USB specifications; however, these terms are not intended to be used in product names, messaging, packaging, or any other consumer-facing content,” the USB-IF’s language usage guidelines updated in September read.
The USB-IF continues to advise vendors to label USB 2.0, which can take the form of USB-C, USB-A, USB-B, and other connectors, as “Hi-Speed USB” with no performance indicator. According to USB-IF president and COO Jeff Ravencraft, the majority of products that use the USB 2.0 spec are peripherals such as keyboards and printers. As a result, the industry group believes that consumers will not mistake the technology for being faster than, say, USB 5Gbps. Because of the larger number, the USB-IF was concerned that people would mistake “USB 480 Mbps” for “USB 5Gbps.”
“Hi-Speed USB has been around for over 20 years and is well established in the marketplace, so we focused our rebranding efforts to 5Gbps and up,” the USB-IF spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, the recommended USB 1.0 branding remains unaltered. The USB-IF now recommends that packaging and logos for USB-C cables show both maximum data transfer rate and power delivery.