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Rabu, 08 Januari 2014

USB 3.1 spec solves first world problem, introduces smaller, reversible USB plug

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One of the best features of USB is its backwards compatibility, but as the years roll by, some aspects of that compatibility end up being a bit of a disadvantage. For example, the connection design. It hasn’t changed so as to ensure compatibility, but that has meant the size stayed the same as has the fact it only fits into a USB port one way.
That is going to change, though, and with the introduction of the USB 3.1 specification, we are set to get a brand new plug. It’s called the Type-C connector and improves upon the design in two ways. Firstly, it’s going to get smaller, to the point where it’s similar in size to the existing Micro USB plug. Secondly, the new plug will be reversible, meaning it doesn’t matter which way around it is when you slide it into a port.
The update to USB 3.1 was already looking like a great revision. Data transfer rates are being increased to 10Gbps, and power output will already be increased to 100 watts meaning you can ditch the power cable for compatible devices. Now we’ve got a smaller cable to look forward to, which will also mean the ports can shrink as well as accessories such as USB hubs.
One thing the USB Implementers Forum must ensure, though, is that USB doesn’t lose its resilience. A smaller plug needs to remain as strong and stable when plugged in. If they damage easily or fall out with the lightest of knocks, then it will be a step backwards.
We have yet to see what the new Type C connector will look like, but with USB 3.1 expected to be available next year, it shouldn’t be too long before examples of the new cables and plugs start appearing. Also, don’t forget that backwards compatibility is being retained. Therefore, we’re going to have a new USB  port adapter coming to market so these new cables fit old ports and old cables fit new ones.


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