Twenty years after its birth, the USB connectivity is about to take a new course. The arrival of Standard 3.1 should double the (theoretical) speed of data transfer. A small revolution that calls for another: the democratization of Type-C. Explanations.
1.2 GB / s. If this theoretical maximum speed leaves dreaming, it will become reality from next year with the appearance of motherboards and hardware optimized for this new evolution of the USB.
To have such a rate (or more probably around 700 MB / s in practice), it will certainly take a dedicated environment. So computers last generation. At a time when many personal computers are only equipped with the USB 2.0 port, this new evolution may seem minor or even shifted. And yet, it is not as anecdotal as that. It is even a small revolution that is coming.
Indeed, if USB 3.1 doubles the speed of data transfer from one device to another, it will mostly be accompanied by a new face.
This long-awaited revolution is the announced democratization of a universal format: Type-C. A universal connector, thin and reversible (like Apple’s Lightning connector), suitable for smartphones, tablets and computers. According to a study by Strategy Analytics, 12% of smartphones should be equipped by 2016.
And for good reason, in 2014, the European Commission adopted a directive to make universal chargers mandatory within three years (by 2017). If the Type-B micro USB port seemed to be the perfect choice for this new universal reference, it is indeed the Type-C that should be honored by this major technological evolution.
Power supply, display, data transfer …: a cable to do everything
These Type-C ports will not be just a physical evolution. They will support another standard: the USB Power Delivery (USB-PD), which will allow an electrical current of up to 100 watts to pass through, where the USB 3.0 cables were limited to a power of 4.5 watts. What interest will you tell me? And to allow any type of connected device (printer, screen, external hard drive, speakers …) to be powered by the computer to which it will be connected. Better, the USB Power Delivery will also be able to power a complete computer. Exit therefore the multitude of connectors of power supply for a universal connection.
The USB Type-C will also carry the video as it will support various other standards, such as the DisplayPort 1.3. In other words, the small end of Type-C USB cable will allow the use of an external screen with a resolution of 5,120 x 2,880 pixels (the “5K”). A foot of nose to the standard HDMI and consorts of some sort.
In short, an all-in-one standard, unavoidable because universal, called to replace the so-called standard connectors, mini USB and micro USB. A time bomb in the connected world of mainstream computing.