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USB-C Means One Cable For All

We’ve all used USB cables and USB drives. We all know the frustration of it not fitting because we tried to plug it in the wrong way. USB Type-C, however, takes care of that inconvenience by being reversible. In other words, you can plug in a Type-C plug into a Type-C port either way or it will still work regardless of the type of USB connection – 3.1, 3.0, or 2.0.

All this plugging in and out will not wear out the connector easily. Type-C is designed to endure through no less than 10,000 insertion/extraction cycles, which puts it on par with today’s Micro USB connectors. No less importantly, USB Type-C is made to occupy very little space on a circuit board. This is great news for hardware designers as they’ll have more precious room inside the electronic devices they build.

Being the technically superior and future-proof connector that it is, USB Type-C is very likely to become dominant among USB connectors. Some devices are already riding this wave of change. The newest Apple MacBook has a single Type-C port, which is used for charging, data transfer, and video output. Google’s newest Chromebook Pixel features two of the ports, both with the same capabilities. Note that neither of the two computers needs a dedicated power connector as their batteries are charged via USB (more on that in a bit).

USB-C solves the age-old problem of which side is up or down and which connector goes into which end. The Type-C connector in USB 3.1 is reversible and both ends are identical, so all you have to do is grab one end, plug it into the Type-C port, and do the same for the other end. Those days of fumbling to figure which side is up and which side is down are finally gone with a single easy, reversible connection.

USB 3.1 doubles the data transfer speed from USB 3.0’s 5Gbps to 10Gbps, which means that data transfer times are now cut in half!

With the Type-C connector being designed as a future-proof solution, USB is now a truly universal bus. The new design contains extra pins with the future goal of supporting speeds greater than 10Gbps. With the addition of Power Delivery and the Alternate Mode feature, which unlocks the power of the VESA DisplayPort standard to provide full 4K Ultra HD video, it is clear that this standard is here to stay for a decade or longer. USB-C is the THE ONE. THE ONLY.

The good news is that USB PD makes it possible for host and peripheral to switch roles in providing power to the other. In other words, it will be technically possible to charge a tablet from a laptop and vice versa. This feature would also allow smartphones to act as portable power banks for compatible mobile devices.

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