3M has unveiled its new monitor technology, and it's one of the first USB 3.0 products we’ve seen that isn’t storage related. It doesn’t just get its display signal via the new standard, but also draws its power from it.
The 3M demo unit is only an 18.5in screen with 1366 x 768 resolution, but this is not a limitation of the technology. USB 3.0 offers up to 5Gbit bandwidth, compared to 480Mbit for USB 2.0. This means that there are few limitations as to what you can watch on a USB 3.0 monitor.
We know that DisplayLink - the company behind plenty of USB 2.0 monitors - are working on a USB 3.0 solution set to launch later this year. However, DisplayLink doesn’t power its monitors via USB; that’s unique to the 3M solution.
The downside is that you need to connect the monitor to two USB 3.0 ports, despite the fact that it only draws a mere 8W during use - the problem being that a single USB 3.0 port can only deliver 7W. But, this USB 3.0 monitor only draws about half the power of a standard monitor, which is quite impressive.
It also makes for fewer components inside, which should lead to a more affordable display, with a more environmentally-friendly leaning.
Additionally, you can use it with any computer with a pair of USB 3.0 ports. It might be a slightly limiting factor at the moment, but, by the end of this year, USB 3.0 should have trickled down to become a standard feature on all new computers.
Watch this space.