21 Jun 2017 Trends. USB Type-C Explained: What It Is and Why You’ll Want it
USB-C is the emerging standard for charging and transferring data. Right now, it’s included in devices like the newest laptops, phones, and tablets and—given time—it’ll spread to pretty much everything that currently uses the older, larger USB connector.
USB-C features a new, smaller connector shape that’s reversible so it’s easier to plug in. USB-C cables can carry significantly more power, so they can be used to charge larger devices like laptops. They also offer up to double the transfer speed of USB 3 at 10 Gbps. While connectors are not backwards compatible, the standards are, so adapters can be used with older devices.
Though the specifications for USB-C were first published in 2014, it’s really just in the last year that the technology has caught on. It’s now shaping up to be a real replacement for not only older USB standards, but also other standards like Thunderbolt and DisplayPort. Testing is even in the works to deliver a new USB audio standard using USB-C as a potential replacement for the 3.5mm audio jack. USB-C is closely intertwined with other new standards, as well—like USB 3.1 for faster speeds and USB Power Delivery for improved power-delivery over USB connections.
Type-C Features a New Connector Shape
USB Type-C has a new, tiny physical connector—roughly the size of a micro USB connector. The USB-C connector itself can support various exciting new USB standard like USB 3.1 and USB power delivery (USB PD).
The standard USB connector you’re most familiar with is USB Type-A. Even as we’ve moved from USB 1 to USB 2 and on to modern USB 3 devices, that connector has stayed the same. It’s as massive as ever, and it only plugs in one way (which is obviously never the way you try to plug it in the first time). But as devices became smaller and thinner, those massive USB ports just didn’t fit. This gave rise to lots of other USB connector shapes like the “micro” and “mini” connectors. “By Chris Hoffman”