Next gen reversible USB system released

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group has announced the release of its next generation USB Type-C specification, delivering a reversible cable and connector system to the market almost two years after Apple did the same with its proprietary Lightning cable.

Almost two years after Apple released its proprietary reversible Lightning data transfer bus and power cable, the USB 3.0 Promoter Group, has revealed the details of its own new reversible high-speed cable and connector system.

The group today released its new USB Type-C specification, defining the next generation of USB connector for implementers and developers.

It said that the new configuration establishes a cable and connector system tailored for the sleek profiles of mobile device designs, yet remaining robust enough for laptops.

With the openings for the new connector measuring 8.4mm by 2.6mm, it is not far from the size of the current micro USB 2.0 Type-B connectors — which are found on most non-Apple smartphones.

The new cable and connector supports USB 3.1 "SuperSpeed" 10 Gbps data transference and USB power delivery of up to 100 watts, according to the group, which is comprised of HP, Intel, Microsoft, Renesas Electronics, STMicroelectronics, and Texas Instruments.

USB image 2
Image: USB 3.0 Promoter Group

The most noticeable development in the new configuration for many users will likely be the reversibility of the plug, allowing it to be used in any orientation, just like Apple's Lighting cables.

According to the USB 3.0 Promoter Group, which first announced it was developing the next generation of USB connectors in December last year, the new specification allows for a durability of 10,000 cycles, and power delivery capacity of 3A for standard cables and 5Afor connectors.

While the USB Type-C plug and receptacle will not directly mate with existing USB plugs and receptacles, Type-C specification defines passive new-to-existing cables and adapters to allow for the use of the new connector with existing products. 

The USB standard was first developed in the mid-1990s, defining cables, connectors and communications protocols for the system.

Now, after various iterations of the theme, USB 3.0 Promoter Group chairman Brad Saunders of Intel claims that industry stakeholders with interests in a number of technology sectors have been interested in the new USB development.

"Interest in the USB Type-C connector has not only been global, but cross-industry as well," said Saunders. "Representatives from the PC, mobile, automotive and IoT industries have been knocking down our door anticipating this new standard. This specification is the culmination of an extensive, cooperative effort among industry leaders to standardize the next generation USB connector as a long-lasting, robust solution."

USB Implementers Forum president and COO Jeff Ravencraft said that the organisation was working to establish certification and compliance testing so that, "consumers can have the same confidence in the next generation of certified USB technology".