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Is this the most exciting cable ever?

There are three clichés about USB cables that emerge instantly:

1. The drawer full of knotted charging and connecting cables that would give your tidiness consultant a dizzy spell

2. Arriving for a meeting without the right cables for all your devices

3. Realizing you have thrown away the one cable that fits a device

What if there were one cable for everything? How nice it would be to not have to pack the USB charging cables for your mobile phone, for your e-reader, and for your external drive! Even if you forget that magic cable, no sweat. It won’t be difficult to borrow a cable from someone when all USB cables in the office, in the hotel, or at the airport are essentially identical.

What is USB Type-C?

USB Type-C is the new standard for USB, and it requires only a small connector. This means:

  • USB ports don’t have to take up so much room on devices, allowing those devices to be even slimmer
  • Already small devices, such as mobile phones, can use the same connectors as their grown-up cousins, such as laptops

USB Type-C ports can support multiple protocols using “alternate modes.” Using adaptors, a single USB port can output to connections such as HDMI, VGA, and DisplayPort.

This isn’t a new standard. Those have numbers—USB 2.0, USB 3.0, etc. This is all about the physical connection, just like microUSB and miniUSB.

More power, captain

USB Type-C can be used with USB 3.1. The second generation of USB 3.1 hardware supports theoretical transfer speeds of 10Gbps.

It also works with USB power delivery (USB PD), which allows power to flow either way through the cable. Your laptop can charge your phone and charge itself through the same cable and the same port. So compact!

And so powerful. A USB 2.0 connection delivers no more than 2.5 watts of power. You can dribble that into a phone and eventually charge it, but your laptop might require 60 watts. The USB PD specification allows for up to 100 watts of power pulsing through a USB Type-C cable.

Going backwards

The USB Type-C connector isn’t backwards compatible, so you couldn’t plug your older USB devices into a sleek USB Type-C port; however, the USB 3.1 standard is backwards compatible. All you need is a physical adapter with a USB Type-C connector on one device and an older-style USB port on the other.

Sweetest of all?

Oh, and the new USB Type-C connectors plug in whichever way you have them. No more having to flip the cable over because you’ve (invariably) been stabbing it into your laptop upside down.

Questions? Contact us and we can help. Ace Technology Group Call us at (610) 640-4223 for IT advice.

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