The ubiquitous USB interface was officially updated to version 3.0, with developers delivering the final “SuperSpeed” USB specification and a comprehensive review of the technology at a conference today. The new standard will provide a maximum bandwidth of 5.0 Gbps, which is more than ten times what is offered by USB 2.0, while also being more power-efficient than its predecessor.

To put things into perspective, developers said the new spec can handle 25GB transfers in a mere 70 seconds, whereas the same transfer would take 13.9 minutes with the current USB 2.0 protocol and 9.3 hours on USB 1.0. USB 3.0 is backwards-compatible with USB 2.0 hardware but won't work with USB 1.0 devices due to significant changes between the original format and its third generation.

The first USB 3.0 standalone controllers are expected to hit the market in the second half of 2009, according to the announcement, with consumer products arriving in 2010. Additional information on the new spec can be found here.