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Intel Light Peak ''Launching'' in 2011, Maybe 2012

It only makes sense that Intel's Light Peak is the next step after USB 3.0. After all, there's only so much speed you can push across a wire--optical cables however can handle far more data. The new tech is slated to not only provide a transfer rate of 10 Gbps, but will also be backwards compatible with a USB 3.0 port.

With that said, it's no wonder that Intel is pushing its new technology to take the place of the current USB tech in 2011. "We view this as a logical future successor to USB 3.0," said Intel's Kevin Kahn during a speech at the Intel Developer forum in Beijing (via PCWorld). "In some sense we'd... like to build the last cable you'll ever need."

Kahn said that Intel plans to make the Light Peak technology available late this year, and expects Intel partners to bring Light Peak-enabled devices to the market sometime next year. But with USB 3.0 just recently out the door, Light Peak may not go mainstream until at least the beginning of 2012 if not later.

"We expect both [USB 3.0 and Light Peak] to exist together in the market and perhaps on the same platform at the same time," Kahn said during a presentation. While there's no conflict between the two technologies, Light Peak will still have the upper hand by allowing USB and other protocols to run together on a single, longer cable. The connections are also smaller than USB jacks, an important factor with small mobile devices.

Kahn said that Intel may add Light Peak supports into its chipsets, depending on how fast the industry embraces the new optical technology next year.