The Humble USB Is Now 25 Years Old

A recent post by delves into USB’s 25 years as a standard, describing how it evolved throughout the years and its influence over the industry as a whole. Happy 25th Birthday, USB!

Credit: Unsplash/@jessbaileydesigns

It’s hard to go through life today without encountering the phrase “USB” in one way or another. From the powerful little computers we carry in our pocket to the swish new consoles sitting under our TV, USB seems to be relevant to every piece of tech in our lives.

This month, USB celebrates its 25th birthday, which serves as a reminder that the industry standard has been through it all with us when it comes to the evolution of technology.

usb ports laptop
Credit: Unsplash/@tlystad24

USB, or Universal Serial Bus, was released in January 1996, serving as a replacement for various common PC ports, including serial ports, PS/2 ports, Parallel ports and Game ports (for back when you were a scrub for not using a joystick).

As well as unifying connectivity to a single port on PC hardware, USB used a standard that was super speedy (at least for the time) and was also plug and play, meaning a lot less installation faff.

usb wire
Credit: Unsplash/@franckinjapan

That being said, the version of USB we use today is an entirely different beast to that born in 1996.

Where USB 1.0 had a top speed of 12 megabits/second, the latest rendition of the standard (USB 4.0) supporting up to a whopping 40 gigabit/second. The type of USB connector used a standard interface has also changed a lot, with various sizes of the connector coming and going throughout the years (remember micro USB? Urgh).

image of laptop
Credit: Pixabay

So, you might be wondering what USB will evolve into next, with so many changes to the standard occurring over the last 25 years. Well, while it’s hard to say exactly what we’ll see in terms of changes in the future, it seems like we’re going to be using that same classic rectangle shape connector that came to be in 1996. 

Here’s a fun game to play – go around your house or office and see how many devices you can spot that has a USB port. You’ll be surprised! (Just don’t panic if you find one on the back of your neck, or they’ll know you know).

Are you feeling elderly now you know USB is officially 25 years old?

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Featured Image Credit: Unsplash/@franckinjapan