NEC has developed a new chip designed to help computer peripheral device manufacturers enable their products for the new USB 2.0 standard, the company said Thursday. The chip is designed to be integrated by manufacturers directly into existing products that use the popular IDE/ATAPI interface standard. It creates a bridge between the ATAPI interface and USB 2.0 interface, enabling products to be connected to PCs supporting the new interface standard. NEC imagines it will serve as an interim solution between now and the time companies begin designing USB 2.0 compatibility directly into products from the design stage. USB 2.0 is a new interface standard being promoted by several PC and chip makers that supports data transmission at speeds of up to 480Mbps - 40 times faster than the current USB 1.1 standard. Samples of the new chip are available now, and NEC says it plans to begin volume production in February 2001.