The next generation of USB connectors is on its way, and with it follows great news, it’s reversible!
USB ‘Type C’ will be the next step from USB 3.0 and is set to write those annoying wrongs previous USB incarnations have had.
The new type-C USB jacks will be small enough for mobile phones and micro devices with a fully reversible cable. This means, even if the cable is end-to-end or upside down, the connector will still attach to your device.
This handy adaptation will mercifully put an end to the age-old USB dance of attempting to connect a cable upside down in the dark…. We’ve all been there, it’s hell.
The new connector made its debut in April at Intel’s developer’s forum in China. The design looks like cross between the current Micro USB plug and Apple’s new lightning connector-which is already reversible.
Although the new connecter will be about a quarter of the size of the current full USB port, measuring in at 8.3mm x 2.5mm, it is wider and thicker than a Micro USB connector- but not by much.
Key Changes for USB Type C
Smaller size and reversible, designed to support smartphones and tablets of the future.
Can accommodate future USB incarnations, with the ability to scale to higher data-transfer speeds.
Support for scalable power charging, allowing the cable to offer up to 100 watts
Data speed transfers of up to 10 Gbps, double what we have at the moment
And there will be a reassuring audible click when it’s plugged in correctly.
With so many USB devices currently on the market today, don’t expect an immediate transition to the new cable. Like 2.0 to 3.0, it’s likely PCs will include both new and old port styles next to each other, with modern connecters gradually taking the market.
The ‘Universal Charger’ dilemma
There is however a slight concern over the how widespread the new USB will be, after the EU announced there will be a ‘universal charger’ for all phone sold in Europe. The initial bill would permit only microUSB’s to be used on phones, rendering the initial release of USB-C pretty tame if the entire phone market is fenced off.
The legislation has not been passed yet, but is in its final stages- so timing will be key if USB C is to even to survive its first year off the drawing board.
When do we get it?
Well, we’re supposed to be seeing the finalised specifications for USB-C at the end of July, but things have gone a little quiet on that front. As for implementation in actual devices, a few companies including Intel, have shown interest in working with the new USB before Christmas. However it’s likely these will, initially, only be on high end devices or prototype models.
If all goes well expect to see the gradual implementation of Type C in late 2015. Until then, you’re stuck ramming your USB in upside down for another 6 months at least.