Everything You Need to Know about the New Reversible USB Type-C | Emerging Tech

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Remember the days of car adapters and power outlets? How quaint.

Today’s USB (universal serial bus) connectors let you charge and connect everything from smartphones to quirky gadgets to your PC or tablet. These ports have become so universal they’re often passed out like candy at conferences.

And now there’s the reversible USB Type-C connector. Forbes has named it “the most important technology to hit the tech space in years.”

The tech-savvy are dubbing it “one cable to connect them all.”

So, what exactly is this exciting new technology and why should you care about it? To understand why a small device will be such a big deal, you’ll first need a brief lesson on the history of USBs.

First, there are the types:

  • USB Type-A is the original standard with a flat, rectangular shape that most commonly plugs into desktops.
  • USB Type-B is a smaller square form used mostly for connecting large devices like printers to PCs.
  • There are also Mini USBs (used with older devices) and Micro USBs (currently the near-universal standard for smart phones and tablets.)

Most consumers have become accustomed to cords that have one USB type on one end (to plug into a desktop, for instance) and a different type on the other (for connecting to peripheral devices). If you’ve ever rifled through drawers in search of the right cable for charging a device or connecting a camera, you know how frustrating this can be.

Enter USB Type-C: a reversible connector that’s impossible to plug in upside down or wrong side out, with the same exact shape at both ends of cables.

Then there are the versions:

It started in 1998 with USB 1.1 with a maximum speed of 12 megabits per second (Mbps). The new USB Type-C is compatible with the latest release, USB 3.1, and will operate at super speeds of 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps). The USB Type-C combines the best of all previous features.

So what does this mean for you?

As the latest type and most advanced version come together, you can expect more convenience as compatible products start to roll out:

Faster charging

So fast, in fact, that you could conceivably power speakers, monitors and even laptops from a desktop PC.

Better bandwidth

Those 10 Gbps mean you’ll be able to transfer much larger files, much faster.

More convenience

As companies roll out USB Type-C compatible PCs and devices in the future, one universal connector will work with the various technology you use every day. Soon, you’ll start to see standardization amongst the PC, mobile, automotive and Internet of Things (IoT) industries.

You’ll need an adapter to use the new USB Type-C with the products you currently own, but many major PC makers—Lenovo among them—will soon be incorporating this exciting technology into new products. Stay tuned!

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