The “USB 3.0 Promotor Group” has just announced a brand new connector called “USB Type C”. The current microUSB port you see on all your Android devices is known internally as “Micro B”. So what’s different with this new standard? I’m not going to sugar coat this, it’s basically a rip-off of Apple’s Lightning connector. And by that I mean you’ll be able to insert this new USB cable into your device without having to check which way is up. It’ll also be roughly the same size as microUSB, though it’s hard to tell since no photos of this new plug have been released.
When will the first phones with Type C ports hit the market? Likely during the second half of this year. The port itself hasn’t been standardized yet, but it’s expected to be complete by next summer. Will the cables you have now be backwards compatible? Sadly, no, but is that really a problem? Most phones come with chargers that split into two parts. There’s the big honking piece of plastic you plug into your wall, and then there’s the cable you plug into that heinous wall wart, so all you really need to do is get a new cable, not a new charger.
What about data speed? The press release didn’t mention anything about that, other than to say “the connector design will scale for future USB bus performance”. Translation: It’ll go faster, someday, but we can’t say when.