The "SuperSpeed" USB Promotions Group was announced Tuesday at the Intel Developer Forum. The promotions group will get together with contributors over the next year to finalize a USB 3.0 spec that will, they hope, take care of our wired peripheral and syncing needs for another five years or more.
USB 3.0 is built upon, and is backwards-compatible with, the USB 2.0 "High Speed" spec. It would be generous to even call the specifications "early" at this stage, but the group still had lots of information about how USB 3.0 will work and what features it will provide. The spec should be finalized sometime in the middle of 2008, with initial devices available in '09, and broad deployment by 2010.
The main two goals of SuperSpeed USB are to provide a 10X boost in transfer rate (from 480-Mbits/s in USB 2.0 to 4.8 Gbits/s in USB 3.0), while dramatically lowering power consumption. One example of their speed goals is to transfer a 27GB HD movie to a portable device in 70 seconds. The same thing would take 15 minutes or more with HighSpeed USB (2.0). The SuperSpeed devices will use the same connectors and the same programming and device models as existing devices.