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It's meant to enable a new class of thinner devices

There's a new USB plug on the horizon, and this upgraded version will finally be reversible. 

According to the USB 3.0 Promoter Group, the next-generation USB is called "Type-C," and development on the new connector has already begun. 

Type-C, which will be built on existing USB 3.1 specifications, will finally have a feature many have been waiting for: reversibility. 

Other plugs -- like Apple's Lightning connector -- are already reversible, allowing users to easily plug right in without trying to see if they have it upside down or not.

USB is about to get a facelift. [SOURCE: wikimedia]

Type-C is expected to be about the size of a Micro USB plug, and it's meant to enable a new class of thinner devices in the way of phones, tablets, convertibles, laptops, desktops and emerging products. 

“While USB technology is well established as the favored choice for connecting and powering devices, we recognize the need to develop a new connector to meet evolving design trends in terms of size and usability,” said Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group Chairman. “The new Type-C connector will fit well with the market’s direction and affords an opportunity to lay a foundation for future versions of USB.” 

Type-C isn't compatible with existing USBs, but the USB 3.0 Promoter Group will have a specification for adapters and cables so that many existing USB chargers out there aren't immediately considered obsolete.

Type-C should be finalized in mid-2014. 

Back in August, The USB 3.0 Promoter Group announced new USB 3.1 specifications that allow SuperSpeed USB to operate at speeds of up to 10 Gbps.

Source: USB

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Who not backwards compatible?
By Samus on 12/4/2013 11:00:03 AM , Rating: 3
It would be reversible and backwards compatible with micro-USB 2.0 if they simply made the shape symmetrical and had a mirrored pin-out on both internal connection points.

I tried to file a patent for this 5 years ago and it was rejected because of protection against unauthorized standards and modifications set by the USB Promoters Group.

I have a working prototype cable that works in every device I own, although it is a little stiff inserting in one of the two possible directions on some devices, specifically my Galaxy Note 2 (ironically the S3 is fine) and my a Qi-compliant charger that I feel the connector isn't to spec, anyway.

Every other device I've tried from cameras to hard drives works fine.

USB 3.0 adds a huge dimension of complexity to backwards compatibility because of increased pin count, depth, current, and in the case of micro-USB 3.0, asymmetrical divided connector width. It's virtually impossible to retro-fit that spec, but making micro-USB 2.0 reversible could have been done nearly a decade ago. There's no reason this never happened.

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