USB 3.0 standard was released in November 2008, defining a new SuperSpeed mode. A USB 3.0 port, usually colored blue, is backward compatible with USB 2.0 devices and cables.
On the release of the USB 3.1 specification in 2015, USB 3.0 was renamed USB 3.1 Gen1 for marketing purposes.
The USB 3.0 Promoter Group announced on 17 November 2008 that the specification of version 3.0 had been completed and had made the transition to the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the managing body of USB specifications. This move effectively opened the specification to hardware developers for implementation in products.
The new SuperSpeed bus provides a fourth transfer mode with a data signaling rate of 5.0 Gbit/s, in addition to the modes supported by earlier versions. The payload throughput is 4 Gbit/s (due to the overhead incurred by 8b/10b encoding), and the specification considers it reasonable to achieve around 3.2 Gbit/s (0.4 GB/s or 400 MB/s), which should increase with future hardware advances. Communication is full-duplex in SuperSpeed transfer mode; in the modes supported previously, by 1.x and 2.0, communication is half-duplex, with direction controlled by the host.
As with previous USB versions, USB 3.0 ports come in low-power and high-power variants, providing 150 mA and 900 mA respectively, while simultaneously transmitting data at SuperSpeed rates. Additionally, there is a Battery Charging Specification (Version 1.2 – December 2010), which increases the power handling capability to 1.5 A but does not allow concurrent data transmission. The Battery Charging Specification requires that the physical ports themselves be capable of handling 5 A of current but limits the maximum current drawn to 1.5 A.