New USB Connector Plugs in Upside Down or Rightside Up

The new cable may pave the way to even thinner electronics.

ByJon M. Chang
December 04, 2013, 11:01 AM

Dec. 4, 2013— -- Anyone who's hooked up a USB device to their computer knows it's a slightly irritating process. You switch between sticking it in upside down and rightside up, jiggling it around until it finally goes into its slot. But that concern could become a ghost of technology past.

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group announced that a new connector, USB Type-C, is being developed.

"We recognize the need to develop a new connector to meet evolving design trends in terms of size and usability," Brad Saunders, chairman of the industry standards group, said in a statement. "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."

Unlike the Type-A USB connector, the type most often seen plugged into your computer, the Type-C will work either up or down. "Users will no longer need to be concerned with plug orientation/cable direction," the USB 3.0 Promoter Group said in its statement.

However, there is a catch. The new USB connector is smaller than the traditional Type-A cable, so it will not directly connect to the standard ports. "The Type-C specification will define passive new-to-existing cables and adapters to allow users to use their existing products," the group said.

But the cable's smaller size and shape may not be made with a computer's USB ports in mind. Alex Peleg, VP of Intel's Platform Engineering Group, said that the new connector will usher in a new class of even thinner electronic devices.

"This new industry standards-based thin connector delivering data, power, and video is the only connector one will need across all devices," he said in a statement.

The Type-C connector will be available in the mid-2014, officials said.

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