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  April 16, 2014

Reversible USB 3.1 Cables


For almost two decades computer users’ difficulties regarding trying and failing to plug-in the USB connectors will come to an end. The new Type-C USB connector model is going to be both symmetrical and reversible. The ends of the cable will the same at both ends and it will no longer matter which way the plugs are.

The only downside of the new Type-C cables is that they will be compatible only with 3.1 USB specifications and no other current ports. Due to this, manufacturers are presented with the choice of using the common Standard-A type, the source of plugging difficulties and, now, lesser transfer speeds, or the new Type-C connectors.


Alex Peleg, the vice-president of chipmaker Intel’s platform engineering group, expects the new 3.1 USB technology to become widespread very fast. He stated that the new connector technology for delivering data, power and video will be able to be used for all devices and no other connectors will be needed, like power connectors or video ones.


Images of the new connector were revealed when the Taiwanese company Foxconn included renders of the Type-C cables in a presentation leaked to Golem website. But by now, no official date has been given for when the first device that uses this connector will be available in the IT market.


Type-C USB connector

The Type-C cable is somewhat resembling with the Apple’s Lightning connector, which was introduced in 2012, but it is much thinner and it’s reversible than the proprietary 30-pin Apple’s connector. The USB Promoter Group stated that they are developing the new Type-C connector to help new thinner and sleeker designs emerge, to enhance usability and provide a new path for improvement of future USB revisions.


The 3.1 version is the biggest change in USB technology since its standardisation in 1996. It offers maximum throughputs of 4 gigabits per second and includes plugs for every category of devices. Today, we use the USB Type-A, Type-B, Mini-A, Mini-B, Micro-A and Micro-B USB cables, some of them, with different shapes and performances. And not every connector was equally successful. Mini-A, Mini-B and Micro-A are pretty rarely used and the Type-B was out of fashion in the 2000s, when smaller connectors appeared.


The Type-C connectors will have a big advantage when it comes to flexibility, but they will lose a lot on the backwards compatibility level. Still, USB 3.0 devices will be able to link with the help of USB 2.0 cable, but at the cost of transfer rate speed.