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This is Going to be the Next USB Cable You Will Misplace

It’s been usb-type-c-first-imagejust 2 weeks since the EU voted to adopt a single cable as a standard for mobile devices and that cable has already been made redundant.

Foxconn has just revealed the first artist renders for the USB type-C plug. This is a completely new addition to the USB standard, and it features a much smaller plug which is designed to work no matter which way it is inserted into the port.

If and when this becomes the standard, we’ll all have one more cable to dig for in the bottom of our bags. But once we find the cable, we’ll be saved the effort of trying several times to plug it in.

usb-type-c-first-imageThe design and the spec have not been finalized, but the USB Implementers Forum is confident that this is what it is going to look like. And that’s a shame, becasue I would much rather see the plug standard go in an entirely different direction.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAWhile a reversible plug like the type-C mentioned above is nice, I think the new design should also be less prone to damage. I would rather see a plug which more closely resembles a MagSafe connector. That is designed to snap into place and break away easily without harming the port it is plugged into.

I know that the odds of the new USB port breaking are low, but when multiplied times the millions of devices that use USB you end up with tens of thousands of mobile devices which cannot be charged anymore. I would say that’s a good argument in favor of a MagSafe-type of connector, wouldn’t you?

The Verge

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puzzled April 2, 2014 um 9:43 pm

While something like the MagSafe connector is ok for devices that don’t move, it will be constantly detaching from devices on the go. And it may not be really necessary for devices that don’t move.

The MagSafe looks like a power + data connector. A power connector only needs 2 conductors, with the outside being one of them, so a MagSafe power-only connector can be very small, which defeats the purpose, as the smallness will have less magnetic suction to hold it in place.

A manufacturer that considers breakage an important selling point will also include a MagSafe charging point. Which means that it will be one of the most not-included features in consumer devices. After all, if the standard connector breaks the device, most people don’t blame the manufacturer. And then they will go ahead and purchase a replacement device.

I welcome an omni-directional usb connector, especially if it is smaller, and the same on both ends. One of the biggest usability issues with USB is that it takes two tries to get a connector oriented correctly. And one of the biggest cabling issues was that there were two types of connectors (A & B).

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