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Cellphones Power Upgrades Hardware Technology

SMK Toughens Up Those Tiny Micro-USB Connections 137

An anonymous reader writes "If a gadget ships with a micro-USB port, I see it as a plus because it isn't proprietary — meaning I can easily and cheaply buy replacement cables. But the micro-USB ports aren't the strongest connectors in the world, so if the gadget is expensive (a smartphone) and you accidentally bust the port, you're in trouble. And that's easily done. Japanese manufacturer SMK may have fixed the problem, though, with a new double-strong connector design. They started producing them on Friday, and at an output of 500,000 a month, hopefully they'll be shipping with most new gadgets before long."
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SMK Toughens Up Those Tiny Micro-USB Connections

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  • by b0bby ( 201198 ) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @09:51AM (#37455240)

    I thought that one of the reasons to move to micro-usb was that the parts most likely to be damaged are now on the easier to replace cable side, as opposed to mini-usb where the springs were on the device side. So I would think that the likelihood of device side damage was already less than with mini-usb.

  • Re:Interesting. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DavidRawling ( 864446 ) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @10:04AM (#37455372)
    The micro connector was designed for 10,000 cycles, IIRC. So you can plug and unplug your phone 6 times a day for 4.5 years. Note that the mini-USB was only designed for 1/10th of that, so the micro connector is the better choice. Go check the Wikipedia article if you don't believe me (not that it's any more authoritative than I am).
  • by MadCow42 ( 243108 ) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @10:30AM (#37455654) Homepage

    Sometimes making something harder or stronger doesn't actually solve the problem. Firstly, you can simply shift the breakage point to something more expensive (the circuit board itself). Often, making something more flexible and forgiving goes a lot further. A "soft" connector that flexes instead of breaks would be much more useful.

    I see this with surface coatings all the time. If we have a problem with scratching, making the surface harder actually is counter-productive. Making it softer and more malleable is more likely to solve the problem (the surface deforms around the particle that's scratching it, often resulting in no damage. Even when it still scratches, the resulting defect is much less noticable).

    "Bend with the wind"... it's why Bamboo is such a useful material.

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