Increasing competition will lead to significant price cuts for NEC's first- and second-generation USB 3.0 host chips in the final quarter of this year, and the company's next-gen model is expected to arrive at a sub-$2 price in Q1 2011. This next-gen chip promises to deliver higher performance and lower power consumption. NEC currently has a marketshare of over 90 percent of the USB 3.0 market, but several Taiwanese firms are aggressively stepping into the marketplace.
As market watchers expect USB 3.0 chip shipments to reach 20 million units in 2010 and over 40 million units in 2011, Taiwan-based chipmakers ASMedia Technology, a subsidiary of Asustek Computer; VIA Technology; Etron Technology and US-based Fresco Logic, have all advanced aggressively into the USB 3.0 market with a sharp price points. ASMedia has even cut its USB 3.0 chip prices down to US$1.7-1.8 for batch orders recently.
However, since the three Taiwan-based chipmakers have not yet passed certification by USB-IF, their USB 3.0 chips are unlikely to start shipping until October or November, which should delay the launch of related products in channel to December 2010 or January 2011.