The Universal Serial Bus, or USB, was introduced to the world in 1996 as the fastest and most efficient way to connect peripheral devices, such as keyboards and printers, to computers. However, if you had asked someone familiar with the computer industry prior to that time what they thought of it, they would have given you an entirely different response. Through this article we will explore the history of the Universal Serial Bus and gain some insight into its development along the way. Let’s get started! A History of the Universal Serial Bus
The transition from serial ports to USB
Before USB was standardized, each computer manufacturer and model sported a variety of proprietary ports for plugging in devices. The earliest and most common standard, created by IBM for its PS/2 line in 1987, was called PS/2—but it wasn’t universal. In other words, if you had a printer made by one company with a PS/2 port, you couldn’t just plug it into your friend’s computer made by another company.
The development and ratification of USB standards
Since its debut in 1996, USB has continually evolved to meet ever-changing technology needs. In more recent years, for example, USB 3.0 was introduced to further enhance data transfer speeds. To understand how USB came to be and developed over time, it’s important to know about standards development and ratifications.
The adoption rate
Today, it’s difficult to find a computer that doesn’t have USB ports (you could argue that even Apple products use USB). What took so long? It wasn’t as though people didn’t see how useful a universal connector might be. A lot of companies and individual engineers came up with their own versions, but none were able to get anyone else on board—there was no clear winner until 1998 when two standards emerged.
Did you know?
Did you know that one of USB’s core architects, Ajay Bhatt, came up with his design when he was trying to save battery life on his cell phone? And did you know that even though it was invented in 1996 and first included in Windows 98, USB wasn’t fully adopted until 2002? Read on for a history lesson about one of today’s most important computer components.