The USB 3.0 Promoter Group has announced that its smart reversible connector design is now ready for production, allowing manufacturers to begin adoption of the standard.
The USB Type C connector features a reversible design, but lacks mechanical compatibility with existing connector types.
The design of the USB connector is recognisable to all, and enjoys the position of de facto standard for peripheral connectivity. It's not without its flaws, however - chief among these being that it connects only one way, something that anyone who has tried to plug in a USB cable round the back of a machine by feel will have had cause to curse. The USB Type C connector, by contrast, is mirrored: it can be plugged in either way up and still operate.
Roughly the same size as a USB 2.0 Micro-B connector, the Type C connector provides full compatibility with the latest USB 3.1 standard. That means 10Gb/s throughput on supported devices, power delivery up to 100W - making charging a laptop through a USB port feasible for the first time - and the promise of boosted electromagnetic and radiofrequency interference mitigation.
There's a catch, of course: USB Type C is mechanically incompatible with previous-generation USB connectors. The solution: passive adapters that will allow existing USB cables to be converted to the new standard at a very low cost.
'Interest in the USB Type-C connector has not only been global, but cross-industry as well,
' claimed Promoter Group chair and Intel staffer Brad Saunders at the announcement. 'Representatives from the PC, mobile, automotive and IoT [Internet of Things] industries have been knocking down our door anticipating this new standard. This specification is the culmination of an extensive, cooperative effort among industry leaders to standardise the next generation USB connector as a long-lasting, robust solution.
Companies signed up to produce USB Type C products include Intel, HP, Microsoft, Renesas, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments. None, however, have currently provided a launch date for their respective implementations.