USB Type-C is slowly but surely becoming the norm, and while only a handful of smartphones were equipped with this type of connector in 2015, this year many other smartphone makers have either joined the bandwagon, or are preparing to do so by year’s end. But USB Type-C is still a relatively new technology and thus it still has its issues. For example, not all USB Type-C cables are identically specced, and this can lead to incompatibility issues and other problems, even equipment failure. Fortunately, things are about to change and improve, as earlier this week the USB Implementers Forum (or USB-IF) has announced a Certified USB Charger Compliance and Logo Program “to establish USB chargers for compliant USB Type-C devices including laptops, tablets, smartphones, docking stations, displays and other products”.
What this means is that, in a nutshell, end consumers should worry less about compatibility and buying or carrying multiple USB Type-C chargers and connectors for multiple devices in the future. Instead, “guided by the USB brand promise of ‘it just works’, the Certified USB Charger Program will make it easier to share device chargers across the compliant USB Type-C landscape”. Thus, as long as your charger or cable flaunts the USB Charger Compliance Logo, it should be compatible with all the compliant devices. The USB Implementers Forum also adds that, along with freeing consumers from the burden of purchasing and carrying multiple chargers, the program should also lead to a reduced number of chargers needed, and in turn this should help reduce electronic waste in landfills.
Beyond improving the quality of life for USB Type-C users, the program should also make these types of connectors more secure. USB Type-C connectors require more electrical current than USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 connectors, and thus they pose a greater danger of damaging devices if they are not properly regulated. “Non-compliant chargers, whether USB or otherwise, pose a risk to the functionality and interoperability of electronics. USB-IF compliance means that products have met the highest standard in the industry”. Furthermore, these chargers will be “certified to be compliant to the specification” and will be “tested for interoperability with other USB products”. USB-IF reminds companies to “allocate the necessary resources” in order to manufacture compliant products and submit them for testing before receiving the USB-IF certification.