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Chargers would be replaced with a ubiquitous USB 3.0 solution, supporting up to 100 watts of draw

Today, other than Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone, smartphones have made the leap from proprietary connectors to a single ubiquitous standard -- micro-USB.  This is a huge relief for phone users, as it means whether you have a Windows Phone or an Android phone, it's easy to find replacement chargers.

But the situation in the world of laptops remains far worse.

Virtually every manufacturer has its own proprietary brand of A/C adaptors, most of which use some kind of post-style plug.  

But the USB 3.0 Promoter Group has published a new standard [PDF], which proposes using new USB 3.0 power cables as a ubiquitous replacement to proprietary adaptors.  Under the proposal, laptops could draw up to 100 watts off of bi-directional, backwards compatible USB 3.0 cables.  

The USB cable could be plugged into a "mains adaptor" -- an adaptor that converts household alternating current to a useable direct current supply fed into the USB.  Currently, such adaptors are commonly used to charge smartphones.  As the connector to the device -- a USB cable -- is common and the amount of power delivered predictably defined by the USB standard, the choice of current adaptor is inconsequential.

USB 3.0
[Image Source: Cleveland Leader]

This will make replacing power supplies much easier -- if it’s adopted.

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group is the group responsible for successfully developing and pushing the third-generation USB standard on the world.  Its members include Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Hewlett-Packard Comp. (HPQ), Intel Corp. (INTC), Texas Instruments, Inc. (TXN), Renesas Electronics Corp. (TYO:6723), and ST-Ericsson -- a joint venture between NXP Semi. NV (NXPI) and STMicroelectronics N.V. (EPA:STM).

Still, even with past successes and a super-star ensemble of industry power players there's cause for skepticism, given the long history of fruitless efforts to move laptops away from proprietary adaptors, as commemorated in the well-known XKCD comic "Standards".  Let's hope this effort bears more fruit that those past failed bids.

Source: USB 3.0 Promoter Group [PDF]



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RE: thunderbolt
By XZerg on 7/24/2012 1:48:52 PM , Rating: 3
Not necessarily. TB has some very nice potentials - compact internal innards of devices like say laptop to allow consumers to add-in external performance accelerator devices.

Imagine having a light-weight laptop with cpu with integrated gpu to which you can connect on demand an external video card. Otherwise you would have to lug around a heavy weight and bulky laptop everywhere as most decent gpus require considerable amount of power and cooling. This also applies to tablets too.

The other idea would be a docking station that supports enough bandwidth with little latency to run displays, usbs, sata, network, ...

So in essence TB could be the key to externalize performance devices which are not always required and can be attached to gain the performance near to the devices connected directly.


RE: thunderbolt
By Helbore on 7/24/2012 2:47:51 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with this. Thunderbolt has the potential to bring about the device convergence that Microsoft seem to be pushing for with Windows 8.

Think about it; a tablet that can dock using Thunderbolt could become either a laptop of a full desktop. The cost-savings alone of only having one device would make this appealing and the flexibility of being able to dock your device into any compatible docking station - anywhere in the world - opens up a lot of new possibilities for mobility.


RE: thunderbolt
By Lerianis on 7/24/2012 7:06:13 PM , Rating: 2
Eh.... unless the device seamlessly matched with the thing AND the stuff in the dock included an upgradeable video card and ports, I wouldn't go with it.


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