Smartphones have come a long way in recent years with almost all of them (except the iPhone) standardizing on micro-USB for data and power charging. In the future, notebooks could also be ditching the proprietary chargers and standardizing to charge with USB. The USB 3.0 Promoter Group provided a news release (.pdf) to announce the USB Power Delivery specification has been completed.
The new specification expands the bus power capabilities with higher voltage and current, with the ability to deliver up to 100 watts over certified USB cables. This could eliminate the need for power bricks for devices like external hard drives and others. Additionally, this is a move toward universal charging with a standardized cable. For the environment, this should equate to less electronic waste as standardized cables can find usefulness after their original device has failed. For consumers, this should also result in cheaper costs to buy a power cable versus the proprietary chargers of today.
USB 3.0 continues to develop with high bandwidth data and now growing power capabilities. The specification was published by the USB 3.0 Promoter Group, comprised of Hewlett-Packard Company, Intel Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, Renesas Electronics, ST-Ericsson and Texas Instruments.
Along with the publication of the specification, there will be a USB Power Delivery Developers Day August 2nd in Washington D.C.
You can find out more details at USB.org.