For years, micro USB connectors were the standard for nearly every device on the market. Also known as USB Type-A connections, they were the preferred method for charging, data transfer, video transmission, and more. Then, USB Type-C connectors were developed, replacing the need for USB Type-A connectors. This technology aims to make charging much faster and it has even added high-quality streaming capabilities through the connection.
Said Ilan Sredni, CEO & President of Palindrome Consulting in Florida, ''USB-C is the latest technological gadget, but it won't be the last. The reason why we love USB-C as a connector is that the cable is universal and, therefore, you can insert it at either end of the cable, data transfer is faster, and it allows for fast charging.''
What Are the Biggest Advantages of USB-C?
It took some time for the USB Type-C connection to become mainstream, as device designers had to find more improved ways to implement the technology and make the connector type more affordable. Today, USB Type-C is starting to show up in more consumer devices, and it has some nice features that you won't find in older USB connectors.
The size. The new port is half the width and one-third the height of a USB Type-A connector and is slightly larger than Apple's lightning or micro-USB connectors.
The cable is reversible. Unlike other USB cables, you can insert USB Type-C either way.
The speed. USB Type-C ports can deliver data at speeds of up to 10Gbps.
It packs power. With up to 100 watts, USB-C cables can power almost anything
It's versatile. With USB-C, Via users will be able to connect older devices to USB Type-C ports via adapters.
The latest Android phones utilize USB-C and some Apple devices use this port. It is becoming more commonplace to see at least one USB Type-C port on new mobile devices. ''The biggest advantage is that USB C handles everything, data transfers, external devices of all sorts, video output, including very high def output and it has the ability to supply power to a workstation or laptop'', said Bryan Badger, CEO of Integral Networks in California.
''USB-C is by far the most flexible connector we've seen in technology. We find USB-C ports on nearly every modern device, from monitors to drones to cell phones'', said Alan Sielbeck, President and CEO of Safe Network Solutions in Tennessee.
How Can USB-C Be Made Less Confusing?
Clearly, USB Type-C is here to stay. Nevertheless, acquiring the future is never a simple process, and there are things about USB-C that users must know. For example, not every USB-C cable works in the same way, and not every USB-C port is the same. If you are using a USB-C port for the first time, there are many things to pay special attention to. Things with USB-A were fairly basic. Typically, anything you could connect to it would work. With USB-C, things are no longer as simple. Connectors and cables may not work depending on the features of your device.
''The only confusing part is the various manufacturers and the lack of a clear supported functionality list per device manufacturer and/or device. For instance, does it support video? Will it power/charge my laptop? This needs to be made much more clear. Everything should be standardized on it so we do not have to mess with all these different connections, including video'', said Bryan Badger, CEO of Integral Networks in California.
''USB-C may cause confusion since USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt use the same connector. USB-C only refers to the plug shape size, manufacturers should better label cables with the proper specs. Still, it is a better option to standardize and use one single connector instead of having a variety of them'', said Jorge Rojas, Partner and Business Technology Expert at Tektonic in Canada.
''The challenge and frustration lie within the maze of cable standards between the connectors. Between USB 2, USB 3, USB 4, Thunderbolt 3, Thunderbolt 4, and something called Display Port Alternative, it's extremely frustrating for a consumer to know what cable may be required, even though it's "USB-C". I went through this process myself, trying to connect a monitor that had a USB-C input. It took no less than 4 USB-C cables to finally sort out the mess of protocols and standards for my monitor to work. This is a problem I never had with those "old cables" using HDMI, Display Port, or even VGA connections'', added Sielbeck.
Do You Need USB-C?
The USB-C is not just limited to phones and tablets. USB-C is gradually making its way onto other devices. The USB-C connector shape is not going anywhere. The USB-C connector might even replace the lightning connector on iPhones and iPads as it has already made its way to the latest MacBooks. If this becomes the case, Android users and Apple users would be able to use the same charging device. USB-C cables will definitely be a solid investment due to their variety of advantages.
Currently, the industry is in a bit of a period of unpredictability, in large part due to many device manufacturers being reluctant to commit to switching to USB-C technology. However, research and data on USB-C are very clear, many devices are utilizing this technology. Still, it's highly likely users will still have some devices that rely on micro USB technology. It's safe to make the assumption that there will still be devices using micro USB technology for several years.
While USB-C ports have proven to be a breakthrough for many in terms of efficiency, flexibility, and convenience, they are not without their disadvantages and confusion. For now, some users will fall back until they know that they can continue to use their existing devices and equipment with no confusion. However, other users are looking forward to USB-C replacing micro USB connector types. Now that you know a little more about what the USB-C is all about, are you going to make the jump as you update some of your devices?