Strange New World: Tech Picks of the Week

NINTENDO DS

This week, in this Strange New World of ours, we take time to recognize a few different milestones: Hulu's paper anniversary, the coming of USB 3.0 and Nintendo selling 1 million DS games.

Here now, our picks of the week:

The New USB on the Way

With annual sales of roughly 2 billion devices, the Universal Service Bus, or USB, seems as ubiquitous as wall outlets. Now its backers are set to launch the latest version, 3.0, which aims to maintain its dominance by scaling up to deliver raw speeds of up to 5 gigabits per second.

Announced in November 2008, USB 3.0 added its latest product March 9: the industry's first PHY-controller package. It's noteworthy simply as an example of the growing amount of USB 3.0 hardware that vendors supply to one another in order to build products that can be sold to consumers and enterprises.

The first commercial USB 3.0 products -- such as external hard drives and digital cameras -- could debut in early 2010.

Some analysts predict 500 million USB 3.0 devices by 2012. The closer USB 3.0 inches toward its commercial debut, the more questions there are about which rivals it will displace, particularly eSATA and FireWire. But many of those technologies are also developing faster successors, such as FireWire 3200.

Hulu's One-Year Anniversary

A year ago, a doubting public, yours truly included, wondered if a new video site with an odd name would survive for a month, and now Hulu is celebrating its one-year anniversary. And not only is it surviving, it is doing well!

The No. 2 video-on-demand site, behind YouTube, is not content to rest on its laurels on its paper anniversary.

Hulu is now expanding into the social-networking arena. All the details are not out yet, but there is now a "Friends" tab on your Hulu profile that lets you add your contacts from Gmail, Facebook, MySpace, Hotmail and other sites.

Once you do this you can browse their profile pages and see what they are watching in their Hulu profile.

Nintendo Ships 100 Million DS Units

When you think about hand-held gaming platforms nowadays, the Apple iPhone and the PSP are usually the first things to come to mind.

True, these are the flashy players and are very popular right now. In fact, Sony recently celebrated the 50 million mark in PSP sales.

The thing is, the Nintendo DS might not be the sexiest console on the market, but it has been selling like hot cakes on the down low.

In fact, Nintendo has just announced that it has just passed the 100 million mark in sales. I know, right!? DS sales are all set to spike again later this month when the new Nintendo DSi goes on sale.

We had a chance to play with one this week and it is going to be a hit with the kids. It is aimed at the same niche that the Wii is, the more casual gamer who doesn't need all the power of a PSP and just wants to have a little fun on the school bus or subway.

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