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First renders of the reversible USB 3.1 cable released

First renders of the reversible USB 3.1 cable leak
By Simon Sage on 2 Apr 2014 09:53 am EDT

We’ve become accustomed to knowing one end of a USB cable has to go into a computer or charger, and the other end goes into your phone, but there is a future where you can use either end in either thingie, and this is what that utopian paradise looks like. The USB Implementers Forum is showing off two USB 3.1 connector standards today.

Type-C shows off a design similar to the microUSB format we all know and love, except it’s the same at both ends, and there’s no set top or bottom for those plugs. This reversible tip is a feature Apple’s been getting an early lead with using their Lightning connector, though the more direct comparison would be Apple’s Thunderbolt. The Micro-B cable shows a slightly wider mobile connector we’ve already seen cropping up in devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Why do we need a new USB standard? Well, increased data speeds for one. We’re talking 10 Gbps, versus the 5 Gbps available on USB 3.0. Two, you can expect faster charging times. We’ll be getting between 3 A and 5 A of current, up from 1.5 A. All of these new USB plugs will be backwards compatible with the 3.0 products in market (with an adapter, maybe?), so no need to worry about things getting too wonky with your existing hardware. In any case, it’ll be cool to start seeing micro-sized plugs built into PCs and chargers.

USB 3.1 port render


Reader comments

First renders of the reversible USB 3.1 cable released

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This will be helpful on those nights where you can't seem to be able to plug in your charger so you have to get up turn on the lights then plug it in

Posted via CB10

Indeed but let's not credit Apple with Intel's connector next time. Thunderbolt is Intel's creation.

Posted via CB10

It was both Apple & Intel. Basically Apple provided ideas & helped with the funding of the research, but yea, the actual work was done by Intel. I think Intel had also already started working on it B4 Apple joined the project.

Posted via CB10

Ah, another USB cable or adapter to put in my draw.
I now have at least four configurations, none interchangeable, used for power and/or data.

Why not? Would get faster data speeds, and seems it could be backwards compatible with existing data cords...

Posted via CB10

I guess you're right. I'm never a fan of change. It's like trying to pry my z30 out of my hands and replacing just with a droid or iPhone... get my drift?

Posted using the best phone ever, the Z30!

Drmoe...I get your drift lol! I feel the same way about my Q10 haha. Everyone else, I agree that the design should be better...I'm always a little nervous about using my phone while it is charging with the USB's wiggling right now as I type this, and I wish it did feel more sturdy...

Posted via CB10

Zaydub that's exactly my point! I switched to iPhone for a month after my torch and it was very unstable and loose too. I hope it does more than just quicker speeds cuz I'm fine with the current speeds.

Posted using the best phone ever, the Z30!

The new connector needs to have a grip like a vice when plugged in, this micro-usb is too small, wobbly and wonky after a while.

The size seems something in between micro and standard, so it might actually turn out a good product.

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

The both sides micro is a complete failure if they use it in chargers the same way they do now... the normal big usb cable can handle a lot of pressure and pulling sideways.. while the micro might get pulled out..

Posted via CB10 on my Z10STL100-

I dont like it either because sometimes I find plugging in the microusb charger into my phone, it gets kinda wobbly. Last time I had a BlackBerry curve and the wire kept coming off loose, and then the port came out itself. I cna no longer charge it.

Lucky BlackBerry z10 just came out ahahhaha my curve broke the week z10 came out lucky me. So I got it, now I still find the port to be kinda wobbly when plugged in, so yeah...

One thing is that microUSB sizes make the connection more flimsy vs a full size USB port. Often a broken port will require a whole new motherboard on a laptop and perhaps on a desktop too depending on configuration (adapter cards) I know from past experience on an old Thinkpad that I had, that breaking a full-size USB port (the plastic receptor inside the port) broke off once when the dog whipped on by and pulled out a cord. It was potentially a very EXPENSIVE fix (luckily I had an extended warranty plan and that covered most of it but without that, I'd have been hooped). Now extrapolate that to the really small flimsy microUSB'll be seeing a lot more of this kind of thing. The PlayBook had a notoriously craptastic microUSB port and their support forums are full of complaints...

I'm not sure I see "USB Cable ends" as one of the important computing problems to solve: the only cable I'm aware of that isn't directional and the orientation doesn't matter is an iPhone "lightning" cable. There are contacts on both sides of the cable and both ostensibly carry the same signal, with a lightning cable on both ends you could plug either end any which way into another device. What, I'm advocating for Apple proprietary technology? I think I am... or just suggesting that USB data signals don't need to be redesigned, but maybe the ports and cable ends do: complete incompatible redo going forward, but the chipsets don't need to change, just the 20¢ ports and cable ends. Short term incompatibility for long term benefit.

If their making a new cable that requires a new design why not improve it so that either end can go in the phone or computer and it doesn't matter which way the cord plugs into the device...seems like it would be nicer in general and especially in the dark!

Posted via CB10 on my  Q10

Oh, I'm not opposed to progress... I'm just saying that while they're at it, they should go for a cable that can be inserted either end, up or down... it looks like Micro USB which is "keyed" and can only be inserted "right side up" but at least either end of the cable can be inserted... but most people don't get frustrated by "which end" of a USB cable, it's the "up or down" that people get frustrated by.... on USB A (computer side) and USB B (the device side) the cable has to be inserted the right orientation, and that almost-square USB B with corners cut of could have probably been square so that putting it in any which way would work... but that would very likely increase the cost of the cable by a couple of cents (which would appear in the price of the cable at Best Buy as an increase of $10)

You're right about that up or down thing.

On a standard plug, it's holes up, but on a micro one? It's trapezoidal, but you have to look closely.

Good point, re-design a plug to remove this issue.

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

That's Type C of the new USB 3.1. Yo will connect the cable without taking care of top and bottom, just as the lighting cable.

God Bless You!

Posted via CB10

Thanks for that info... so the don't need Internet forum nerds to do their thinking for them. That's a relief :-)

Posted via CB10

This is only a failure in the mind of most BlackBerry users because none of the current BlackBerry's use it. If the Q20 came with this then it will be the best thing since sliced bread. My Note 3 already has Standard-A 3.0.

I'm totally down for increased standards for laptops. I think both USB 3.0, and an increased screen resolution should be implemented. Gotta say I'm pretty tired of 1366 X 768, and gave been paying a relatively higher price for lower graphical output

So both a fully standardized USB 3.0 (meaning ALL the ports are actually 3.0, not jyst one out of three) and also an increased screen resolution should be standard.

Nice article btw :]

Posted via CB10

Go with the ASUS N56, full HD matte. Last year's model, now a cheap, brilliant laptop, . Go for the i7 model...

I wouldn't buy anything under HD+ (1600x900) anymore.

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

Keyboards will never die, they've been around for over 150 years with the invention of the very first typewriter. ;)


Keyboards on computers may never die but the market for a key board cell phone is so small you need a microscope to see it. The majority of BlackBerry phones are key board phones and last time I checked they were a hair over 1% market share with its decreasing by the minute.

I don't see the point. Yesterday, copying files from a new win 8.1 PC to a USB drive and again to my Z10 was still only 4 to 5 mb per second. Nothing close to the alleged speed. In 20 years I have never seen data transfer at anything close to claimed speeds. Sounds like an excuses to justify someone's existence, developing something we don't need and that won't perform as claimed.

Posted via CB10

The BlackBerry Z10 doesn't support USB 3.0. File transfers between a PC and BB handset thus take place at USB 2.0 speeds. Try putting a USB 3.0 flash drive or card reader into a USB 3.0 port, and you'll notice the difference.

Even more with HDDs.

Getting around 80-110MBytes per second on USB3, but hardly 20-30 on USB 2.0

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

Interesting. Though it would be nice to be able to pinch to zoom the pictures from the BlackBerry app!

Tim Smith from my Z10 on Rogers

I guess I don't understand something.

With this new spec either end can go in either thingie? Isn't that the case now as long as the connector is the right size? In other words the article is written in such a way that makes me think the cables could only be used in one direction regardless of the connector type.

Then again it could just be coffee deficiency.

Posted via CB10 via Z30STA100-5/

Correct 3-5A is much too much current for the internal resistance of LiPoly batteries. It does however open the door for using super capacitors instead of batteries. They can receive more current and charge much faster than a chemical battery. The drawback is the power leaks out and they don't hold as many amp hours as a LiPoly battery. This issue can be mitigated by the ability to fully charged your phone in 1-5 minutes.

My new smashed Mini C0031C543 and a little bit of cross-country riding C00339A43.


That's Type C. In the article indicate that Type C of the new USB 3.1 will work without taking care of top and bottom.

God Bless You!

Posted via CB10

The cable standard for computers and mobile devices would be nice. Phone to phone connections would be easier to transfer data quickly and safely. There would be fewer cords. The problem I see though is the increased space needed. That can take away from other hardware like speed, memory battery ect. What the phones need is a charging dock. Just lay the phone face up and it charges.

Posted via CB10

Not to praise Apple here, but I love the lightning connector. I would love a new USB standard to be as close to it as possible just for the orientation.

Posted with my CB-Q10 using the power of " Q "

USB 3.1 is supposed to do 5GB/s (last I read up on it months ago) which means a phone would need a pretty good SSD to put that out but the real benefit is of course the higher amperage it puts out which is great for charging your device. Now I am waiting for SATA 4 to come out as SATA 3 only does about 600MB/s which is why SSD drives are limited to around 550MB/s

Awesome. Looking forward to the first wave of phones besides the iPhone to have reversible charging ports. Hope BlackBerry adopt this early.

Posted via CB10

The magnetic fast charger for the PlayBook works really well and could be added to future bb10 devices

Posted via CB10