Geek article — USB Type C descends on us

Almost 13 years ago, I brought two motherboards which were loaded with the USB 2.0 chips we designed and flew to Intel's headquarter at Hillsboro, Oregon. At that time USB2.0 was still very new and as the main promoter Intel was doing Compliance Test in-house using their own resources. After three days of testing, our design was awarded the then rare compliance logo and was the second system chip in the world to have that recognition, right after Intel's own solution.

Then USB 2.0 took the world by storm and forever changed the concept of inter-connectivity. In some sense, Bluetooth and WiFi technologies all benefited from the open-platform success of USB 2.0. The success also rendered futile one of the last closed-system efforts, 1394b (Firewire) by Apple.

13 years later, after the rather uninspiring USB 3.0, which I also got involved a bit before joining Atheros, USB Type-C cables have descended on us. EETimes described the new cable/connector and its behavior in a new article. To me, it seems that this new connector and standard is due to become the universal connector that we have always dreamt of — at least outside of Apple's Cupertino campus.

A few of the key features associated with USB Type-C cables and connectors are as follows:

The connector is non-polarized — it plugs in either way — no longer do we have to dork around trying to determine “Which side goes up?”

The connecter is small enough that the same connector can be used everywhere — on workstations, tablet computers, MP3 players, smartphones, digital cameras, etc.

Unlike the vast majority of other USB cables, Type-C cables have the same male connector on both ends — it’s up to the things they are plugged into to “negotiate” with each other to determine who is in charge of doing what.

The specification supports data bandwidths up to 20 Gbps and facilitates alternate, non-USB, vendor-defined modes (you’ll need the right type of cable to support these higher bandwidths and advanced modes as discussed below).

The specification supports power delivery of up to 100W for faster charging (you’ll need the right type of cable to support the more advanced power delivery modes and higher power levels as discussed below).

In the case of the simpler power delivery and data transmission modes, passive (unintelligent) cables may be used. When it comes to the more advanced modes, intelligent cables will be required, where such cables contain an electronic ID that can inform the other elements in the system as to that cable’s power capacity and the data bandwidths it can handle.

Getting emotional (II) — Prynt, not just a polaroid smartphone case

Getting emotional – the Holy Grail for hardware startups