SATA-IO unveils USM Slim external storage jack for ultrabooks, tablets and 'other portable devices'

So, how do you best improve upon the USM standard and boldly take it to new frontiers? Well, as with most tech, simply shrinking it down never seems to hurt. The new USM Slim standard has just been announced by the Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO) as part of the SATA 3.2 Revision. It takes the ability to plug in powered, external storage with on-board SATA and slims down the port from 14.5mm to 9mm. By trimming the jack by of a third of its bulk the SATA-IO have prepped the standard for the next generation of products, including ultra-thin ultrabooks, svelte tablets and "other portable devices." What might those other devices be? Well, we can't help but hope for a smartphone that boots to Ubuntu when docked (or Ubuntu TV) and can connect to a sizable external hard drive... ah, pipe dreams. Check out the PR after the break.

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SATA-IO Rolls Out USM Slim Specification for Thinner, Lighter External Storage

New Specification Enables Addition of Portable Storage to Mobile Devices

BEAVERTON, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO), the industry consortium dedicated to sustaining the quality, integrity and dissemination of Serial ATA (SATA™) technology, today announced it has finalized a new version of its Universal Storage Module (USM®) standard that enables consumers to simply and easily increase the storage capacity of their mobile devices. The USM Slim™ specification defines a thinner, 9mm dimension, making it an ideal storage solution for ultrabooks, tablets and other portable devices.

"As mobile computing devices grow increasingly thinner, developers must make tradeoffs with regard to the amount of storage they can build in to their products"
Demand for thinner, lighter mobile devices often results in decreased native storage capacities, limiting the amount of content consumers can carry with them. The USM Slim specification allows manufacturers to develop external storage offerings that seamlessly pair with these thin and light devices so that consumers can still have instant access to their music, movies, photos and other content at any time or place. The smaller form factor now makes it possible for thinner CE devices to integrate the USM host connector or slot to accept the 9mm module.

Like the original USM specification, which specified a 14.5 mm height, USM Slim defines how developers can design slots into their products that accept complete, powered, external storage devices with integrated SATA interfaces. These slots and storage devices enable consumers to instantly access their content from a variety of products and to seamlessly transfer that content between devices without the aid of additional power or cables. The integrated SATA interface supports transfer speeds up to 6 GB/s, offering users the same speed and reliability they've come to expect from their hard drives and other SATA-based devices.

"As mobile computing devices grow increasingly thinner, developers must make tradeoffs with regard to the amount of storage they can build in to their products," said Mladen Luksic, SATA-IO president. "The USM Slim specification lets manufacturers design solutions for increasing the storage capacity of mobile devices without hampering the portability consumers crave."

The USM Slim specification is currently available at no cost for SATA-IO members. It will also be made available to the industry at large as part of the SATA Revision 3.2 release, which SATA-IO expects to be available later this year. In the meantime, manufacturers are already beginning to develop USM Slim products. Seagate has been shipping a 500GB Slim external drive, which is based on this new USM Slim specification. Seagate's® Slim storage is available on the market today and additional devices from a variety of manufacturers are expected to be available soon.

More information on USM, USM Slim and other SATA technologies is available at


Formed in September 2004, SATA-IO is the International Organization that owns and manages Serial ATA specifications as open industry standards. The organization defines and implements the Serial ATA storage specification as the industry's storage needs evolve. It is dedicated to sustaining the quality, integrity and dissemination of the SATA technology by maintaining the specifications, promoting and marketing the benefits of the technology and creating future interface features and specifications that carry storage into the next decade. Additional information about the organization, its nearly 200 participating companies and membership is available at