SATA-IO standards body just released the SATA 3.1 specifications which clear the air around the Universal Storage Module (USM) standard, as well as multiple improvements to storage devices.
First off, SATA 3.1 defines the new USM standard which brings SATA into the world of Consumer Electronics. The idea behind USM is to create removable cable-free storage products for easy transfer of files among CE devices. This is one of standards that wants to get its spot under the Sun, combining the speed of SATA (6Gbps, 585MB/s) with easy-connect connectors (no cables). Members of the standard are quite diverse for a CE-focused standard: Antec, GIEC, HiSense, Ionics, Lenuss, Seagate and Thermaltake.
Owners of SSD storage might be interested in the Queued Trim Command (QTC), a feature which allows SATA-based Solid State Drives to execute TRIM command without impacting the regular usage.
Two more improvements are Required Link Power Management and Zero-Power Optical Disk Drive (ZP-ODD), power-saving technologies which reduce the power consumption of SATA Devices.
Furthermore, SATA 3.1 now features a new mSATA auto-detect technology which completely removes the need for a dedicated mSATA connector – SATA 3.1 sends any proprietary connector to green pastures, and leaves the SATA connector standard (7-pin data, 15-pin power) for all devices.