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This Improved USB Cable Brings a Reversible Connector, Coming This Year

usb type-c

USB cables have never been the most frustration-free things in the tech world, and many of us (myself included) have yet to plug one in correctly on our first attempts. The new design, known as USB Type-C, has been officially confirmed by the USB Implementers Forum (IF) at Intel’s Developer Forum conference today. 

The main changes include a small, reversible connector on both sides, meaning you can plug your phone and laptop into either end rather than the “bigger one on the laptop, smaller one on the phone” philosophy we work with already.

Type-C cables will be fully supporting 10Gbps transfer rates found on the USB 3.1 specification, and they’ll do this while having USB ends measuring just 8.35×2.55mm — keep in mind that, despite the fact that this is much smaller than the traditional USB connector, this is larger than Micro-USB.

Specifications for Type-C will likely be completed by the IF in July 2014 according to CNET, which means we’ll likely see some cables to try out by the end of the year. The transition for mainstream PC and mobile device manufacturers, however, will likely be slower.

Also according to CNET, here are the current design attributes of the cable:

  • It’ll make an audible click when plugged in correctly.
  • It’s designed to accommodate future USB incarnations with higher data-transfer speeds.
  • It’ll support USB’s growing role in carrying power to operate and charge devices through the USB Power Delivery technology.
  • It’s designed to be plugged and unplugged 10,000 times.

Are you ready to finally stop getting laughed at by your Lightning connector-toting iPhone buddies? Let us know down in the comments.

Via: CNET
  • beez1717

    I just hope that the cable isn’t as fragile as the current Micro USB is.

  • John Friend

    Hmm… 10,000 times? What is the current plug/unplug durability of micro usb? I know that my big droid maxx lets me charge my phone every 2-3 days. That 10,000/2(plug,unplug)=5000/365days or 13.7 years. At first 10,000 didn’t sound like much until I did the math.

    Wireless charging is still too new of a technology. And anyone who knows anything about battery longevity knows that higher temperature exposure resorts in a far shorter lifespan. Once my battery drops down to say 30 % I will top it off to 95%. Then once a month I will do a full cycle.

    I am thinking it would be cool if they could create a cable that is reversible, but would also retrofit existing micro usb connections. But thats far too much to ask.

  • Nick

    How bout actually implementing a symmetric USB cable that can be plugged either right side up or upside down before moving on to this…

  • Shadowstare

    If this new 3.1 cable will be incompatible with any usb port on any device for the past decade and a half, I’m not a fan. The initial implementation will suck. Adapters will have to be made, which is another thing i’m not going to want to keep track of.
    But, If the technology puts USB and Apple’s Thunderbolt on equal footing, then cool. It will need to happen sooner rather than later.

  • t3lancer2007

    I don’t really see the need for USB on phones anymore with wireless transfer and wireless charging. I don’t really care if my phone charges slower, wirelessly. I only care about not having anymore cables that could potentially break or even just be in the way.

    • Nowai

      adb and fastboot are not usable over wireless afaik. Nor would I trust a phone that has that level of debugging enabled over wireless.

      • http://www.impulsivestudios.com/ Justin Myers

        But there is: http://goo.gl/gMMVR8
        I personally hate cables as well though.

  • ken

    I dont see the point of the two ends being the same. Its easy to see which end is which. Apple’s idea made a lot more sense – because you dont have to worry about orienting the tiny connector. With this new plan, the bigger end gets a little smaller, but the small end gets bigger! This is silly.

  • Chippah

    Anything is better than that current huge usb 3 Micro abortion.

    • RiotingPanda

      Abortion? :o

  • Brian

    It can be plugged in 10,000 times? So in 3 years with only once daily use it may fail? That seems like it is very likely to expect to buy a new cable every 2 years.

    • Suhas Vemuri

      3 or 30? :x

      • Brian

        Yeah I didn’t add the extra 0. I suck at math.

    • Aprilone

      Sorry, your math is off…. 3 x 365 = 1095, not 10,000. That would take another 24 years. 365 x 27 = 9855

  • Torin

    I laugh at all of my iPhone toting buddies because they can’t find a charger. I also laugh at all of my android buddies too because I wirelessly charge all of my devices

    • Grahaman27

      And now you don’t have any more friends to laugh at?

    • Big_EZ

      I laugh at people who use wireless chargers. Their phones are stuck on their little wireless pad 2-4x’s longer than my phone is connected to my charger.

      • http://www.impulsivestudios.com/ Justin Myers

        What about those of us who use both? My wireless charger fits perfectly on my office desk and I can just grab my phone and go. Whereas, on my nightstand, I use the USB cable.

  • Gideon Waxfarb

    This is awesome. I have an iPhone 5s and the one thing I LOVE about it is the reversible lightning cable. I don’t care if I have to pay $20 a piece for these new cables – I will replace all of my old ones, when using with devices that support them :P

  • Cowboydroid

    Wirelessly charging makes plugging USB cables into phones obsolete.

    I’m the one laughing at my iphone friends.

    • SkylaC90

      you beat me to 2 it, darn work making me slow on the internet

      • E A butler

        wireless charging is pretty efficient .. I keep a charger on my desk at work and just place the phone on it while im listening to podcast and bam !!… I never have to worry about plugging stuff up or having wires all over the place… It certainly beats the hell out of cables. when ever my phone drops down to 60% i just top it off … Stop hating!!

        • SkylaC90

          no hate here bra, i love wireless￿wirelessly charging my phone in front of my iphone coworkers and uncle while the suffer with messed up and fragile cords. its like magic

    • Adrynalyne

      I laugh at those with wireless chargers when my phone charges in half the time ;)

      • Ryuuie

        Tylt says hi. ;D

        • Big_EZ

          Except that it takes twice as long as my chargers, just like Adrynalyne said.

          • Cowboydroid

            For people who charge their device overnight, that’s really a non-issue.

          • Big EZ

            I charge my phone overnightand it’s still an issue for me when I have to put my phoneback on the ccharger in the middle of the day.

          • Ryuuie

            Yours must be broken. This doesn’t happen on mine at all. Nor does it have this issue with anyone else that I personally recommended it to.

          • Big EZ

            No, Tylt only charges at 1 amp. That is half the speed of all my 2 amp chargers. Not broken, just a limitation of Tylt.

          • http://nopenopenope.nope Ryuuie

            The standard speed for most chargers is around 1 amp, not 2. So you’re an edge case, really. That’s not the case with mine or anyone else’s I know. It charges just as fast as my Nexus 4′s default charger (1.5 amps) and my Nexus 7 2013 (1.3 amp default charger). Hell, the Nexus 5′s charger is 1.2 amps and it still manages to charge as fast.

            Keep in mind, most devices aren’t going to pull 2 amps, they have caps. Your device is simply broken if it’s not charging fast when others can charge faster.

            Also, that post was 20 days old. Let it go and get a better phone or replace the charger or something. =| I’m done.

        • LionStone

          lol! :-)

      • Sjschwar

        waiting for sony’s fast wireless charger…

    • XboxOne

      fanboy.

    • Lucky Armpit

      Yes but not all of us have phones with wireless charging capabilities, want to spend the money on a wireless charger, or want to use BT to transfer files between my laptop and my phone. The USB cable ain’t going anywhere any time soon.

    • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

      I hate my wireless charger. Takes forever, causes the phone to get really hot, and I can’t just pick it up to check something without it stopping the charge.

    • malcmilli

      only some phones have wireless charging, and that requires usually an extra $50 purchase of a charging pad, and that wireless charger doesn’t transfer files to your computer.

      • Cowboydroid

        Wireless chargers can be had for around $15 now.

        You can transfer files through a great deal of wireless means.

        • malcmilli

          ooo $15? that’s not a bad deal at all. I’d look into it if the xperia z2 came with those capabilities without needing a case. Yes there are wireless ways but i have yet to come across one that was as fast as wired transfers.

    • Colton

      you wirelessly charge, so try to answer this for me please: I have the gs4 and I could get the wireless charging pad thing to go under the back plate (idr the official name of this thing), but would it work through a phone case? or does it depend on materials? I have the Spigen Slim Armor if you know what that is. Thanks for any help!

      • Cowboydroid

        A thin case should work. A thicker case will likely put too much distance between the inductive coils. You’ll just have to experiment. Most chargers are not designed to work with cases. For example, I have a thin case on my Nexus 5 and it charges just fine, but the Nexus 4 has a little more trouble getting charged through any case.

        • Colton

          Gotcha. I’m thinking the Slim Armor MIGHT be too thick. But I’ll try to test it out. Thanks for the reply!

  • MrBouche

    While I was surprised by it at first, this is why I loved the usb cord that comes with my note 3. it’s easy to tell which side goes in. But it is a strange connector.

    • CoreRooted

      And that is exactly the problem; Yet another cable to have to carry around. Between all my different devices, I have to carry a minimum of 5 cables with me. This could potentially allow me to only carry 1 or 2 with me instead.

      • MrBouche

        Yeah and if you lose it, it probably costs more than a standard cable.

        • TylerCameron

          It IS a standard cable. It’s MicroUSB 3. The old ones are microUSB2. All microusb 3 devices are backwards compatible with the old connector.

      • Rafi

        you can plug a regular micro usb in your note 3. the “extra” side cable is just to transfer data with USB 3 speed.

        • Milind Shah

          And charge quicker

          • Adrynalyne

            Nope. Charger output is what makes that difference.

          • Big_EZ

            Does it charger faster than 2A? Everything I’ve read is that it’s still only 2A.

  • http://thatgeekdad.blogspot.com/ Rob Delaney

    Why did DL crop out the original caption provided by for the first image by Foxconn from the Foxconn designer that stated this is not a final design concept and things can change? Source material and images should be credited.

    • http://droid-life.com/ Rthvk

      I grabbed the image from CNET and correctly sourced them. No Foxconn references there

  • ticker47

    Out of curiosity, one of the nice things about the “Big side to computer, Small side to device” was that you couldn’t accidentally connect a host to a host. Connecting a two sided USB A cable into two computers results in frying the USB ports, unless something has changed recently. How will they deal with this with the new cable?

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      Why would someone do that?

      • ticker47

        Typically no one would, because up until now finding cables with identical ends was “difficult” as most devices had a B style connector while computers (or other hosts) have an A style connector. If all connectors are now the same, there are bound to be people (Likely not anyone here) who think that they can connect two computers together because the cable has the same connector on both ends.

        • moew

          I can’t wait to connect two computers together with these new easy cables.

        • scotch1337

          Actually the do exist and they were for data transfer between computers. They came out during the Vista launch to transfer from xp to Vista.

        • Daistaar

          I don’t get why people are saying that a Male A to Male A would short a USB port. FireWire is and does the same thing to transfer data between devices including computers and it is based off of the USB 2 spec. Considering it’s using the same concept it was based on, why would FireWire not be an issue but old USB cables be an issue. Just curious. I’d think one computer would just spit out a device not recognized error and be done.

          • ticker47

            It appears that firewire can support more than one master on the bus, so I assume something in the spec allows it to handle two devices trying to supply power. The issue with USB is (at least 2.0 and below, not sure about early 3.0 revisions) there are no provisions set up for handling power output when two masters are connected. Connecting up two computers via USB (without an easy transfer cable) results in shorting the power bus’ to those ports. Think of it like connecting the outlet of your house to the outlet of a neighbors house. While USB has the added benefit of allowing data communication and theoretically could talk to the other device and stop power flow in such a situation, older revisions of the USB spec didn’t account for this. Typically it wasn’t necessary, because very few slave devices required a Male Type A cable so the chance of you having a cable to connect two computers with was slim.

    • Wat

      I used to do that as a joke all the time, you’re making that up bud

      • ticker47

        This came from EEherald and I don’t know how old it is. It wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of devices now have protection built in for this case, but yes connecting two USB hosts together with a cable with Type A connectors on both ends can short out the USB ports on both computers. What happens when you short two batteries?

        “Note that although USB cables having a Type A plug at each end are available, they should never be used to connect two PCs together, via their USB ports. This is because a USB network can only have one host, and both would try to claim that role. In any case, the cable would also short their 5V power rails together, which could cause a damaging current to flow. USB is not designed for direct data transfer between PCs.”

        • Big_EZ

          I use to connect my laptop to my desktop this way to transfer files, never had a problem. I haven’t do that in years so I don’t know if that is an issue with new PC’s, but it wasn’t with XP and Vista PC’s that I use to use.

          • ticker47

            They have special transfer cables for this purpose. There are no computers (that I know of) that will allow you to do this with a standard A-A cable. The transfer cables had a small circuit in the middle and some special drivers that allowed the two computers to talk to each other.

    • sagisarius

      The updated spec sets it up so it negotiates client and host. A lot of android tablets now can server as either. And honestly with USB PD it’s a bit of a moot point, since power flows in both directions.

  • http://www.ytmnd.com MH

    Isnt this basically a generic lightning?

    • HD Z

      Yeah and generic is better

    • ERIFNOMI

      No, it’s a standard specification.

    • morteum

      Also, if I’m not mistaken, lightning has slower transfer speeds. I think it’s basically USB 2.0

      • sagisarius

        I think lightning is a connector type, not a specific technology. So they can switch it use usb3 or whatever.

      • http://www.ytmnd.com MH

        Lightning is as fast (or faster) than E-sata. Esata is faster than USB3 which is faster than USB 2.

        • morteum

          I don’t think so. I don’t know where you’re getting that information, but when I search online most forums (Apple forums included) the consensus is its about the same as USB 2. http://www.sinfuliphone.com/showthread.php?t=10007487

          • http://www.ytmnd.com MH

            It was supposed to be a mini thunderbolt (or so they said at it’s launch). Guess not.

  • calculatorwatch

    Would be really nice if it was also flippable. It seems like every time I go to plug my phone in I have the connector upside-down.

    • calculatorwatch

      Clicked the source link. It is! Awesome.

    • http://droid-life.com/ Rthvk

      Yeah, I pointed that out second paragraph.

      • calculatorwatch

        Yeah, I thought reversible was referring to the ability to plug either end into the computer or phone

        • moew

          Reversaflippable OMG

  • ERIFNOMI

    While it is bigger than USB 2.0 Micro, it looks like it’s probably smaller than USB 3.0 Micro.

  • Julian Coronado

    Wait, I’m confused. Let me try to understand this…
    So, the new Type-C connectors are reversible, and soon we’ll be able to forget the “big on laptop, small on phone” thing. Does that mean that phones in the future that implement this new Type-C cable will be bigger than the current Micro-USB cords? I’m going off of the picture you added, but I think by taking a second look I’ve got it. The black cable on the top will work for BOTH laptops and smartphones, in the future. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

    • 640k

      That’s the way I understand it as well, which means kiss all of your accumulated USB power bricks good bye.

  • Colton

    I have a feeling the audible click will be very satisfying.
    *heavy breathing*

  • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

    Now in 5 years maybe computers will have the new USB 3.1 type-C standard.

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      PC OEMs don’t take that long with ports. I say a year

      • TylerCameron

        USB3 STILL isn’t the standard…

        • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

          Whether something is fully standarized or not doesn’t matter…look at N/AC Wifi… That won’t stop OEMs from putting it in devices. You can’t find a mid-high end laptop without a USB3 port.

    • Tyler

      It will be the same situation for computers as 2.0 to 3.0. You will have some legacy ports and some new ports. I would expect them in the not too distant future.

      • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

        That’s what I’m afraid of, it took years for most computer to have USB 3 ports. Hell, Apple JUST started using USB 3 in their laptops last year.

        • t3lancer2007

          My Ultrabook from 2010 has USB 3 ports.

        • eeeeeeeeeee

          Umm no, enthusiast boards like ROGs had them immediately.

          Stop buying PCs from boutiques.

          • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

            My point was that it will take years before it’s common place.