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New reversible USB 3.0 will give you one less reason to scream

James Temperton
14 Aug 2014
USB Type-C
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New USB Type-C standard can be plugged in either direction and transfer data at 10Gbps

A new high-speed reversible USB standard has been developed putting an end to people shouting angrily while trying to connect their phone to their laptop. The thrillingly named USB 3.0 Promoter Group, based in Beaverton, Oregon hailed the new design as a "long-lasting, robust solution" to USB woes.

The smaller reversible USB connector is designed to work with smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers. Known as USB Type-C, the specification owes a lot in its design to Apple's Lightening port, used on all iOS devices since 2012. USB Type-C means that cables can be plugged in either way up, with no 'top' and 'bottom' seen on current USB cables.

New USB cables and ports will also be smaller, with USB Type-C similar in size to current micro-USB cables. The new design of the cable and connector means it will not work on any existing devices and it will take some time for manufactures to start shipping phones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers using the new USB standard. Adapters will also be made to connect the new cable and plug to existing USB ports.

The new cable and connector support speeds of up to 10Gbps and can power up to 100W. The new data-transfer rates are double what is currently possible with USB 3.0, while power has also been significantly increased. The USB 3.0 Promoter Group said that the cable's design was part of an ongoing plan to develop a "single-cable" solution for all devices. There's no definitive word on when the new standard will start appearing on devices.

Major tech companies including HP, Intel and Microsoft have thrown their support behind USB Type-C. Ilan Spillinger, corporate vice president for technology and silicon said the new standard was a major milestone for the industry.

"It will offer more intuitive consumer experience by means of reversible plug orientation and cable direction designs. Further, this new USB Type-C allows for radically higher data speeds and power carrying capabilities compared to the existing methods," he said.

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