Ever since the USB 3.0 standard was near finalization, everyone was talking about being able to charge power-hungry devices such as laptops through USB 3.0. The final spec that's in everyone's computers now (if they've bought one within the last year or so) does not have enough power to do that, though, as it only delivers 4.5W of power. This is enough for smaller devices like cell phones and MP3 players, but not enough for 3.5in HDDs and laptops. Well, the USB 3.0 Promoter Group, which is a group effort from the likes of companies such as HP and Microsoft, has announced a new USB 3.0 standard that will deliver up to 100W of power.
The new USB 3.0 standard will have several different power profiles that it can change between:
To deliver that much power, different USB cables than what's already out there will be needed. All of those cables will be backward compatible with regular USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, though, so it will all work out well. The main advantage of having so much power delivered through a USB port is that it will do away with the need for proprietary chargers for laptops and HDDs. One of the ideas put out is that LCD monitors will have USB 3.0 charging ports integrated, so when you're at your desk you can simply plug your laptop into your monitor and have it charge. Personally I'd much rather have an extra USB 3.0 port than a proprietary charging port on my laptop, so this is great news.