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Cellphones Hardware Technology

Reversible Type-C USB Connector Ready For Production 191

orasio writes: One of the most frustrating first-world problems ever (trying to connect an upside-down Micro-USB connector) could disappear soon. The Type-C connector for USB has been declared ready for production by the USB Promoter Group (PDF). "With the Type-C spec finalized, it now comes down to the USB-IF to actually implement the sockets, plugs, cables, adapters, and devices. The problem is that there are billions of existing USB devices and cables that will need adapters and new cables to work with new Type-C devices. It’s a lot like when Apple released the Lightning connector, but on an even grander scale. Further exacerbating the issue is the fact that China, the EU, and the GSMA have all agreed that new mobile devices use Micro-USB for charging — though it might be as simple as including a Micro-USB-to-Type-C adapter with every new smartphone."
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Reversible Type-C USB Connector Ready For Production

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  • by Target Drone ( 546651 ) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @06:57PM (#47658939)
    One of the most frustrating first-world problems... they keep inventing new incompatible connectors for no good reason (at least for the consumer).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @07:04PM (#47658989)
    It was a great idea for the EU to legislate "One True Connection", because we now have "One True Connection" rather than eleventy-billion connectors, soon to be eleventy-billion-and-one connectors.

    I only need to connect my 'phone to charge it. I really don't give a shit if it's Micro, C-type, Mini or Purple Dildo shaped.
  • Er, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pathological liar ( 659969 ) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @07:05PM (#47658991)

    though it might be as simple as including a Micro-USB-to-Type-C adapter with every new smartphone

    This is genius.

    "This new connector, whose only value is that it's reversible, doesn't work on the billions of existing devices. Why don't we include a non-reversible adapter?"

    Hell, for extra convenience, just leave the adapter on the cable all the time.

  • Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mirix ( 1649853 ) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @07:07PM (#47659007)

    I know, one more USB connector to have an adaptor for... But this is how the mini/micro and even old USB 'A' should have been from the beginning.

    There's nothing worse than having to blind mate USB, and having to flip it four bloody times before it works. (except maybe blind mating 'F' connectors, or sometimes D sub..)

  • by rahvin112 ( 446269 ) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @08:13PM (#47659369)

    So they are finally getting the connector right. After 5 different connectors and almost 20 years they are finally going to fix the USB connector problem (at least most of them). Not only that but they designed with a future awareness that will hopefully prevent the Micro-USB3 nightmare (two connectors in one) in the future.

    It's Smaller than every previous USB connection.
    It's reversible so you can plug it only one time.
    They designed it with the ability to add additional wires in the future as the standard evolves.
    The C connector supports USB 3.1 which allows up to 100watts of power transfer (enough to power smaller laptops).
    IIRC it's also designed to put less strain on the connection to the circuit board so you won't get the solder flex failure so common with USB.

    What they got wrong is it's almost indistinguishable from Micro without close examination. They didn't put in a color or other requirement that would have made the port obvious without close examination, even though it's smaller a LOT of people are going to be trying to plug USB micro connectors into these ports.

    All in all I'd say the USB working group finally fixed a few major problems with USB and it's a good standard that will probably eventually replace all A,B,Mini and Micro ports over the next few years. The beauty is finally incorporating 100watt capability, it should be possible to have standard power adapters on laptops that use 1 or 2 USB ports for power eliminating the need to replace your power brick all the time.

  • Re: What for? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by inflex ( 123318 ) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @08:21PM (#47659419) Homepage Journal

    It likely won't, and its failure will be expensive on the device.

    As a non-apple-fanboy, I do have to say that the lightning connector used on iPhones is a smarter connector. If it's going to break due to external force, it'll break the tongue off the plug, rather than damaging the socket, subsequently a lot cheaper and easier to fix. Replacing broken microUSB ( and soon Type-C ) sockets on phones, tablets and similar devices is rarely cheap and frequently has additional complications ( such as lifting tracks, broken PCBs or just nearly impossible to find a suitable replacement connector ).

    It's a lot simpler extracting a broken off tongue from a lightning socket and getting a new cable.

  • by tbg58 ( 942837 ) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @10:29PM (#47659945)
    In view of recent revelations that USB Security is fundamentally broken, is the new spec just for a connector or does it include any interface implementation of better security? http://www.wired.com/2014/07/u... [wired.com]
  • Re: What for? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JonBoy47 ( 2813759 ) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @11:33PM (#47660199)

    Say what you will about Apple and their tendancy to buck the greater tech trends in the industry, but when Apple does buck the trend, their solution is technically superior and more user friendly than the incumbent alternative. The Lightning connector is but the latest example. Previous examples include Thunderbolt over USB 3, Firewire over USB 2, ADB over every pre-USB keyboard and mouse connection.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas