A ninth kind of USB?

Well, it's official: USB 3.1 will add a new "Type C" connector. Supposedly, it'll support high-power charging, will fit in both orientations, be future-proof, and replace all eight existing variants of the USB connector.

You'll forgive me if I no longer trust the USB Implementers Forum on this.

(Image by L-Com, one of our more reliable cable vendors.)

Yes, in addition to the Type A and 3.0 Type A connectors seen on the computer, USB has over the years also provided us with type B (used on computer peripherals), Mini B 4 (cameras and older phones), Mini B 5 (cameras and older phones), Micro B (modern cameras and non-Apple phones), and the hastily doubled-up 3.0 B and 3.0 Micro B (hard drives and other high-bandwidth gadgets).

Type A is famously impossible to plug in correctly on the first two attempts. In dark places (like under a desk), you can't tell types 2A and 3A apart (a 2A cable will work properly in a 3A jack, but not vice-versa). Both Mini-B types are short-lived and unreliable. Micro B was deemed the least of many evils by the EU and is now required on most phones, but it's still a bit damage-prone and, of course, is now outdated with the advent of the faster USB 3.0. The new blue connectors share all the same mechanical faults of their older, slower counterparts.

Will the C connector fix all of this, or are we doomed to a hell of endlessly multiplying cables that never quite fit the gadget you're holding at the moment?

We'll leave you with the webcomics....

Fortunately, the charging one has been solved now that we've all standardized on mini-USB. Or is it micro-USB? Shit.



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