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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: This would be awesome!
By KPOM1 on 7/24/2012 1:54:46 PM , Rating: -1
For starters, Micro-USB has its flaws. It is incompatible with USB 3.0 for instance. While there is a Micro-USB 3.0 standard, it isn't backward compatible with USB 2.0.

Let's see what Apple has in store for their new iPhone port before we criticize them for not going with Micro-USB.

RE: This would be awesome!
By retrospooty on 7/24/2012 2:15:59 PM , Rating: 5
"Let's see what Apple has in store for their new iPhone port before we criticize them for not going with Micro-USB."

Its not micro USB like every other ophone on Earth, therefore it draws criticism. USB 3 is irrelevant on a smartphone, we want standardized chargers and peripherals.

RE: This would be awesome!
By Solandri on 7/25/2012 3:01:05 AM , Rating: 2
It's actually EU law that all phones be chargeable with a microUSB connector. They passed the law after the phone manufacturers failed to come up with a universal charger standard on their own, and continued to rake in money selling new chargers with every phone.

Thus far, Apple is the only phone manufacturer which hasn't complied. They will give their customers a dongle which lets them plug a microUSB charger into their iPhone if they ask.

Apple's reason for it is that their connector has all sorts of other capabilities, like digital video out. But the easy solution to that is to make two connectors - one microUSB for charging, another proprietary one for all the fancy stuff Apple wants on the iPhone. So the real reason Apple isn't complying is that they don't want to put two connector ports on the iPhone.

RE: This would be awesome!
By Lerianis on 7/24/2012 7:02:58 PM , Rating: 3
Huh? What are you talking about? I have some Micro-USB hard drives and they work with USB 3.0 ports.

RE: This would be awesome!
By mathew7 on 7/26/2012 3:46:47 AM , Rating: 2
The only limitation is for USB3 cable on a USB2 device (not host). And this is due to the bigger (or should I say additional) USB3 connector. Once they are connected, there is nothing from stopping it work.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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