Gervais Fong, Synopsys
embedded.com (December 14, 2015)
The original USB standard and connector was designed in 1996 and struggled to gain acceptance until Apple rolled out the connector in its original 1998 iMac. With the USB 2.0 and 3.0 updates, the speeds increased and use of the connector continued to spread, making the “universal” in “universal serial bus” seem prescient. The USB Type-C connector, introduced in August 2014, is already gaining widespread acceptance and is becoming the most rapidly adopted USB standard in history. The big question is: Why? The USB Type-A connector is already in everything from computers to cars, so what makes USB Type-C appealing enough to change the connectors that everyone has been using for a decade? And what are the implications for embedded designers?
The “flip ability” of the connector is the most consumer-friendly attribute of the Type-C connector, but using this connector is more than just saving a few seconds connecting your peripherals and host. This new standard has features and benefits that appeal to a wide variety of user profiles and applications. Some of the key advantages include:
- Ease of use through the unidirectional capability with a common single connector design on either end of the USB cable
- Support for up to 10 Gbps data rates (USB 3.1) while maintaining backwards compatibility to USB 3.0, 2.0 and 1.1
- Ability to provide up to 100 Watts of power through the USB Power Delivery Standard
- Flexibility to support additional protocols (called “alternate modes”) including DisplayPort and MHL
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