Updated: read our in depth guide to USB 3.0

Seagate has announced that it will be showing off "the world's first consumer product application of USB 3.0" at this year's CES.

The USB 3.0 demo itself will feature a Seagate FreeAgent external HDD kitted out with a Symwave-built USB 3.0 storage controller.

"Symwave is honoured to be working with Seagate in this show of the first USB 3.0 solution in a real world application of data backup, storage and media streaming," said Yossi Cohen, president and CEO of Symwave.

10 times faster than USB 2.0

It's a big leap forward for USB 3.0, which was only rubber-stamped last November at the SuperSpeed USB Developer's Conference.

The new specification promises to be 10 times faster than the current USB 2.0 standard, which has a maximum transfer speed of 480 Mbits/sec. In comparison, USB 3.0 can reach the dizzy heights of 5 Gbit/sec, making it ideal for large file transfers.

Symwave also suggests that USB 3.0 will use less power than its forebear and will remain backwards compatible with the 10 billion (give or take) USB 2.0 devices that have been sold to date.

A connectivity revolution

"SuperSpeed USB is the next advancement in ubiquitous technology," said Jeff Ravencraft, president and chairman of the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF). "Today's consumers are using rich media and large digital files that need to be easily and quickly transferred from PCs to devices and vice-versa.

"SuperSpeed USB meets the needs of everyone from the tech-savvy executive to the average home user."

USB 3.0 devices are expected to become commercially available in the latter half of 2009 and widely available in 2010.