If you own a gadget, and chances are you'd be having loads of them stocked all over the place, you would be most familiar with the USB cable that came along with it to charge the device or for data transfer. For the uninitiated, the USB standard - specifically the USB 3.0 standard - is being promoted by a consortium of tech companies comprising of Hewlett-Packard, Intel Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, Renesas Electronics, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments; who call themselves the USB 3.0 Promoter Group. In July last year, the Group developed the USB 3.1 specification which has now culminated in the USB Type-C connector. For end users like us, this means the new standard would ultimately result in a single-cable solution which would provide high speeds and high power outputs to multiple devices, with the best aspect being that the Type-C connector is reversal; which would ultimately result in getting rid of multiple USB-to-micro-USB and USB-to-mini-USB type cables.
The USB 3.0 Promoter Group has announced today (12 August 2014) that the next generation Type-C connector is ready for mass production and device manufacturers would be able to adopt the standard for upcoming devices. In the words of Joel Huloux, Director for Standardization & Industry Alliances at STMicroelectronics, "The USB Type-C connector is a major breakthrough that combines 10 Gbps high-speed communication with charging capability scalable up to 100W, while consolidating numerous cables into one robust, unique cable with reversible plug orientation and cable direction that significantly improves the user experience." The notable fact here is that in terms of size, the receptacle is the same as the USB 2.0 Micro-B connectors available today, while delivering super high speeds of 10 Gbps. A point of concern, however, is that the new cables would not be compatible with whatever USB ports you would have on your older laptops and smartphones. Instead, adaptor cables would be needed to get the USB 3.1 cable to mate with the USB 2.0/3.0 port your current devices have.
That little backwards-compatibility problem aside, the USB 3.1 standard definitely seems exciting with the multitude doors it opens in terms of applicability - from super speed portable storage devices to superfast chargers. The possibilities are exciting and endless.