USB 3.1 and USB Type-C, are we on the dawn of a new era?

USB Type-C

It had been only five years since the release of the USB 3.0 standard when USB 3.1 was announced. Two years ago, in 2013. This last standard aims to be a great revolution in the field promising exciting new features.

USB 3.0 and 3.1


Many USB types

The first thing that comes to mind is: “We didn’t see 3.0 ports in many PCs, why should we even care about 3.1?”, it’s true enough that 3.0 wasn’t a big hit as 2.0 was, however 3.1 is going to be so much full of features that its spread is almost guaranteed. So what is this Type-C? Type-C is only a factor form, like “Micro USB” or “Mini USB”. Don’t scratch your head and let’s take a look at the new features.

The new features

Many may just think “It’s just going to be faster”, and yes, it is going to be faster, however speed isn’t the only thing useful in a USB, right?

USB Type-C

  • Reversible: USB Type-C is going to be reversible: you will be able to plug it without looking at the port, just imagine how many times you have tried to plug a USB 2.0 or 3.0 and fond out in a few seconds that you missed the empty part and had to reverse the connector. It may seem futile, but it isn’t if you think of how many times you did this.
  • Small: USB Type-C is roughly the same size as Micro USB.

USB 3.1

  • Speed: This new standard will be able to transfer 10Gbit/s against 4.8Gbit/s of its older brother 3.0.
  • Compatibility: You will be able to plug USB 3.1 in 3.0 and 2.0 (and vice versa).
  • Power profiles: With the new standard you will be able to select one of these three profiles:
    • Up to 2A at 5V (up to 10W).
    • 5A at 12V (60W).
    • 5A at 20V (100W)

    And that’s really high! Many things are able to run, even laptop themselves: Apple’s new MacBook and Google’s new Chromebook Pixel will use USB 3.1 Type-C to recharge. Also the profiles are bidirectional, so you will also be able to charge a device from the same port you used to recharge your laptop. And you will be able to transfer data during the recharge process too!

  • Alternate modes: with the new standard you will be able to connect to HDMI or VGA using the so-called alternate modes (with an adapter that Apple sells for 79$, hopefully alternatives will appear).


In conclusion there’s really much to expect from the upcoming future. In my humble opinion I think this new standard will have much more success than its predecessor, and that Type-C has the potential to eliminate forever Type-A and Type-B connectors from the course of history. What do you think?

All images thanks to Wikimedia Commons.

Image courtesy of mark | marksei

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