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Future USB connector to be reversible, support scalable charging

updated 06:51 am EST, Wed December 4, 2013

Supplement to USB 3.1 specification could lessen USB cable frustration

Future USB cables will be able to be plugged in upside down, according to details about a future connector's specification. The redesigned Type-C connector will form part of the USB 3.0 Promoter Group's "supplement to the USB 3.1 specification," something which will potentially help lessen current frustrations by users plugging USB devices into hubs and computers.

The Type-C connector will be smaller than the current version, with Slashgear reporting that it will be similar to that of the Micro-B USB 2.0 design. Aside from having a multi-orientation design, it will also apparently work with future bus performance increases, as well as supporting "scalable power charging." As part of the improvement, the new connector will not be directly backwards compatible with existing USB sockets, though the design will allow for "passive new-to-existing cables and adapters" to be created as a stopgap measure.

A current USB cable connector
A current USB cable connector


Brad Saunders, the USB 3.0 Promoter Group chairman, advised that the group "recognize the need to develop a new connector to meet evolving design trends in terms of size and usability," and that the new Type-C connector "will fit well with the market's direction and affords an opportunity to lay a foundation for future versions of USB."

The specification is hoped to undergo an industry review during the first quarter of 2014, with the final specification expected to be published by mid-2014. Devices using the new connectors will likely emerge some time after, potentially in 2015.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. aviamquepasa

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-22-11

    It should be similar to Apple's iPhone 5 connector. That is reversible and very practical.

  1. gprovida

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 02-14-06

    "...As part of the improvement, the new connector will not be directly backwards compatible with existing USB sockets, though the design will allow for "passive new-to-existing cables and adapters" to be created as a stopgap measure. ..." Anyone recall the outcry when Apple presented their new connector after not changing the old one for over 10 years? Ironically, the many many flavors of USB connectors [drives me nuts] will be expanded and my bet we won't hear boo from pundits, techies, or European Union demand for no change [adaptors were not good enough for Apple but OK for USB?].

    On another note, you don't suppose the ",,,"recognize the need to develop a new connector to meet evolving design trends in terms of size and usability," and that the new Type-C connector "will fit well with the market's direction and affords an opportunity to lay a foundation for future versions of USB." ..." is code for Apple's lightning connector is so cool and capable we [USB] got to up our game. Although the Apple Lighning connector has capabilities way beyond speed and upside down insert that would demand an entirely new USB protocol rethink.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Lightning and USB aren't competitors.

    You're barking up the wrong tree.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 01-25-07

    From the land of snark, who seriously needs a USB cable to be pluggable upside down? ...Except maybe users of old Dell computers, who always had to plug their USB devices and cables in upside down, because that's how Dell built the machines. :

  1. elroth

    Junior Member

    Joined: 07-05-06

    If it's able to be plugged in both ways, there is no such thing as upside down.

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