USB stands for Universal Serial Bus and is an industry standard originally developed in the mid 1990s, designed to standardize the connectivity between computers and peripherals. The standard covers the connection, communication and power supply following years of non-standard connectors, often requiring consumers to buy new leads with a new device, which ultimately leads to much landfill waste. These days, USB is used to connect computers, laptops, printers, media players, cars, modems, hard drives, smartphones, tablets and cameras, to name but a few. The standard is developed by the USB Implementers Forum and over the years has been refined with higher performance data transfer and power supply functionality plus a smaller design, as befits devices getting smaller (or at least thinner). The mobile industry is on the cusp of adopting a new standard, migrating from USB Type-B to USB Type-C, which sees a new connector that works either way around the theoretically the ability to handle greater charger current and higher performance data transfer, when paired with the correct technologies.
Unfortunately, not all USB Type-C cables are created equal. We have seen how OnePlus' USB Type C cable does not use the USB 3.0 standard for data transfer and how a Google engineer has advised customers against using it. But what of the many other USB Type-C cables that are currently available, and that will be available, as the standard becomes commonplace? Currently, the three Android smartphones that use the USB Type-C connector are the OnePlus Two, the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. But how do customers know if a given cable is compatible with the two Google Nexus smartphones? Fortunately, there is an app for that: the new CheckR application, available from the Google Play Store (please see the source link below) is able to test any plugged-in USB cable and confirm is it is up to the necessary standard or not. Initial testing shows that the OnePlus USB Type-C cable is not compatible, but then we already knew this.
Over time, we can expect the CheckR application (and perhaps similar ones) to be able to advise customers and potential customers if a given cable will work with their Android device. This could, we would hope, encourage businesses to ensure that their cables are up to the USB Type-C standards as the number of devices launched with the new cable is set to increase over time. Perhaps OnePlus will revise their cable to ensure it is compatible with the standard.