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USB Type-C Update

USB Type-C cable

One of the most promising, from a technology standpoint, is the USB Type-C specification.  USB Type-C provides some significant improvements over current USB capabilities including support for data transfer rates of up to 10Gbps, which doubles the current USB 3.0 Type A/B output of 5Gbps. It also provides the ability to deliver power and can work with devices that require 5, 12, or 20 volts of electricity, maxing out at 100W of power. That provides more than enough power to charge laptops, slates, phones, and even hubs or displays. That alone is huge but it doesn’t stop there.  The Type-C port connector is its about the size of a Micro USB port so it will work with small peripheral devices and it’s reversible. No more fumbling around trying to get the plug in the right way. There’s also an Alternate Mode component to the specification which enables the transmission of non-USB data over connectors and cables.  But this is where more confusion comes in, see http://www.cnet.com/news/usb-type-c-connections-better-soon-confusion-first/ .

So while all these things sound great USB Type-C is still emerging and it will take some time to assess how the various vendors and manufacturers choose to implement the technology i.e. what voltage and wattage of power, what alternate mode(s), etc.  Users will have to understand which USB Type-C ports they have to connect to each other.  Overall USB Type-C certainly does seem promising and the DocKtor is especially excited about the potential this has with Targus UDS.  All Targus’ universal docking stations sold today with DisplayLink will still be compatible with Type C, using an A to B cable, or a C to B cable to connect to the dock…there is no need to wait for Type C!

Categories: Did You Know

2 replies

  1. To Quote Sean Hollister (https://kinja.com/seanhollister)

    Honestly, I worry there’s going to be a ton of confusion about which USB-C devices actually support which things, since the connector will look the same but functionality will depend on what the manufacturers build in. Theoretically, any given USB-C port could:

    Charge the device
    Let the device charge other devices
    Connect a varying number of USB devices at varying amounts of bandwidth
    Drive a variety of monitors with varying connectors at varying resolutions

    …but how do you know till you try to plug in? Thunderbolt will have labels next to the port and the cable, no doubt (original Thunderbolt used a Mini DisplayPort end, recall, but with a lightning bolt so you can tell) but I’m not sure about the rest.

    Similar to how tons of phones and tablets have micro-USB ports, but not all of them support USB-OTG for plugging in other USB devices, or MHL for video out

    Like

  2. Here’s a great article that basically states the same thing.

    http://recode.net/2016/01/20/the-promise-and-confusion-of-usb-type-c/

    Like

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