James Snider, chairman of the 1394 Trade Association, has predicted that 800Mbps FireWire devices will be in production by spring 2000.

The statement follows claims by the USB 2.0 working group that the new USB 2.0 standard will hit speeds of 480Mbps. Snider also announced that worldwide product development of the 1394 Multimedia Standard is accelerating rapidly.

He also noted that 90 per cent of new camcorders, to be released in Japan next year, will include the 1394/FireWire standard. He also predicted that one third of new PC's released next year would feature FireWire.

Snider said: "Things look terrific worldwide, I have been in Japan, Taiwan and throughout the United States in the past quarter, and there is a significant acceleration in 1394 design activity. New printers from companies like Epson, along with scanners from UMAX, and mass storage from Fujitsu, have set a new pace in peripheral design, and we expect more products like these."

He then went on to describe Apple's new iMac machines as some of the most dynamic developments of 1999. Pointing out that the recently revealed USB 2.0 standard would take several years to achieve, Snider vouched for a future in which 1394/FireWire will maintain its performance and ease of use over the alternatives.

A decision, by the 1394 technology leaders, to cap the patent fee at 25 cents per end product, means that the cost of products using FireWire will come down - opening the door to a wide array of FireWire peripherals.

The 1394 Trade Association consists of more than 160 companies from around the world, that support the development of the IEEE 1394 standard.