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Will Type-C kill the other USB connectors?

September 18, 2014

The new Type-C connector just released with the new USB 3.1 and USB Power Delivery 2.0 specifications is going to be a big and abrupt revolution in the USB ecosystem.

Without any back compatibility with legacy USB connectors, the new connector and the related cable constitutes an handful, flexible and powerful solution to connect and charge our devices and peripherals.

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The questions around Type-C are:

  • Will it be widely and fast adopted?
  • Where and when?
  • Will it coexist with the other USB Connectors?

Adoption

It’s very difficult to predict the adoption and the success of this solution. For sure at the moment the USB ecosystem is not ready for mass productions:
* cable and connector manufacturers are delivering just engineering samples to OEM and extensive qualification activities are on going.
* Semiconductor companies are working hard to offer dedicated solutions, at the moment not available.
* Compliance test infrastructure is not yet mature and available for product qualification.

As results, charger, adapter, USB accessories and OEM manufactures are struggling to predict the adoption time frame and to understand how to implement an Type-C/USB-PD solution .

Coexistence

From another point of view, the coexistence with other USB connector types seems to very difficult. I can predict a very fast adoption in the mobile market replacing soon the micro-USB in most of the mobile devices. This will benefit the standardization of the charger for mobile devices and minimize the number of connectors in the device (enabling charging, USB communications, video exporting with a DisplayPort interface and audio interface for headsets)

In the PC market I can assume in a first and medium-long phase the coexistence of type-C and type-A, the latest just for legacy and compatibility reasons with old USB disks and peripherals. Slowly the typeC will be the only connector in the PC as well. Even if robustness should be proven. Just to mention, [web rumors] say Google is working to adopt USB Type-C connector in the next generation of chromebooks.

Looking at the main players in this market, it’s evident the great effort to finalize everything in short time. This rush will bring most probably the first products with type-C in the market beginning 2015.


Credits: “Hands On with USB Type C: Reversible USB Connectors” by Joshua Ho

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One comment

  1. Interesting observation. Thank you for sharing.



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