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Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a serial bus standard to interface devices. A major component in the legacy-free PC, USB was designed to allow peripherals to be connected using a single standardised interface socket, to improve plug-and-play capabilities by allowing devices to be connected and disconnected without rebooting the computer (hot swapping). Other convenient features include powering low-consumption devices without the need for an external power supply and allowing some devices to be used without requiring individual device drivers to be installed.
USB is intended to help retire all legacy serial and parallel ports but suffers from large overhead. USB can connect computer peripherals such as mouse devices, keyboards, PDAs, gamepads and joysticks, scanners, digital cameras and printers. For many of those devices USB has become the standard connection method. USB is also used extensively to connect non-networked printers; USB simplifies connecting several printers to one computer. USB was originally designed for personal computers, but it has become commonplace on other devices such as PDAs and video game consoles. In 2004, there were about 1 billion USB devices in the world.
The design of USB is standardized by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), an industry standards body incorporating leading companies from the computer and electronics industries.
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