Reversible USB connector shown for the first time


There’s a joke among tech heads that goes USB connectors only plug in after three tries. It’s funny because in theory, USB connectors only fit in one very specific manner. Even so, many of us – myself included – often only managed to plug in USB ports after three tries. It’s very annoying.

Web comic author and artist Brad van Damme has posited the following theory on why this has come to be:

USB-superposition

It’s no surprise, then, that the USB Implementers Forum (the group that looks after everything relating to USB standards) has been working on a reversible form of the USB connector, which they say should be finalised by July of this year. This means that in the future, no matter how the a USB connector is oriented when you attempt to plug it in, it will fit, and it will work.

While news of the new connector’s existence has been around since late 2013, no-one has seen any physical cables sporting the new design. Earlier this week, US tech site Engadget got hold of two artist renders from component-maker Foxconn of what the tech will probably look like, along with much of the skinny behind the updated tech.

Advert

Engadget writes:

Intended to replace both USB and Micro USB with one universal standard, Type-C looks to be pretty much the same size as Apple’s proprietary Lightning cable, which has a similar reversible design. With support for USB 3.1, the new cables will offer bandwidth of up to 10Gbps, though their biggest benefit will surely be in eliminating the frustration of trying to plug devices in the right way round.

Here is what they’re talking about:

New_USB_CablesThat’s the new cable design. It’s not final, though, and could change before official release later this year, but as of now this is what Foxconn’s artist believes it will resemble.

New_USB_Cables_2
And that is what the port will look like on a notebook/Ultrabook/Netbook/hybrid/convertible/whatever. The one on the left, of course – the port on the right is the USB 3 port we know and hate love today. See how symmetrical the new port is?

Of course, it’s going to take quite a while before every USB port you see is one of these. The standard firstly must be finalised, then manufacturers need to incorporate the new ports into their motherboard designs, and new printers, speakers, headphones, hubs and other products that make use of USB will need to be updated as well. As you can imagine, that list is very long.

Until these new ports become the USB standard that’s used everywhere, people that make computer stuff will probably include both types of ports once the final standard goes live, and gradually phase out or limit the number of USB 3.0 ports as more gadgets come online sporting the new USB 3.1 hotness.

[Image Credits: Engadget.com, bram.us, Shutterstock]

Join the conversation

Advert