updated 03:55 pm EST, Thu January 4, 2007
Micro-USB for Handhelds
The official USB Forum this afternoon revealed a new standard for USB connections dubbed Micro-USB. The new connector is said to accommodate the gradual shrinking of cellphones, media players, and other pocketable devices by reducing the size of the connector itself; smaller even than the mini-USB connectors of today (shown), the plug will still support both data and power on the same cable and can speak to any USB device with the right cabling. Support for the Forum's On-the-Go technology will let devices equipped with the new ports transfer information between each other, bypassing the need for a full-fledged computer on one end.
Specific devices that will use Micro-USB have not been revealed. However, the cellphone producer Nokia has said it will soon use for its new designs. "Micro-USB offers innovative design and a flexible platform that our technical teams can easily take on board," says the company's technology platform director Jouko Junkkari. The technology may be especially relevant to Apple and other developers of extra-small devices, as the iPod shuffle and similar compact devices often resort to using the headphone plug as a substitute for a true USB connection.