The USB 3.0 promoter group has announced that the development of the next generation of USB connector has begun. The new USB type-C connector, built initially on existing USB 3.1 and USB 2.0 technologies, is being developed to help enable thinner and sleeker product designs, enhance usability and provide a growth path for performance enhancements for future versions of USB. Unfortunately, the new connectors will be incompatible with current USB infrastructure.
“While USB technology is well established as the favored choice for connecting and powering devices, we recognize the need to develop a new connector to meet evolving design trends in terms of size and usability. The new type-C connector will fit well with the market’s direction and affords an opportunity to lay a foundation for future versions of USB,” said Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 promoter group chairman.
Key characteristics of the USB type-C connector and cable solution include:
- An entirely new design tailored to work well with emerging product designs;
- New smaller size – similar in size to the existing USB 2.0 micro-B;
- Usability enhancements – users will no longer need to be concerned with plug orientation/cable direction, making it easier to plug in;
- The type-C connector and cable will support scalable power charging;
- Scalability – the connector design will scale for future USB bus performance.
As the new USB type-C plug and receptacle will not directly mate with existing USB plugs and receptacles (type-A, type-B, micro-B, etc.), the type-C specification will define passive new-to-existing cables and adapters to allow users to use their existing products.
“Intel is excited to see the development of the new thin type-C connector as it will enable an entirely new super thin class of devices from phones to tablets, to 2-in-1s, to laptops to desktops and a multitude of other more specific usage devices. This new industry standards-based thin connector delivering data, power and video is the only connector one will need across all devices,” said Alex Peleg, vice president of platform engineering group at Intel.
The USB type-C specification is targeted for industry review during the first quarter of 2014 and a final specification is expected to be published by the middle of 2014.