Fumbling with USB plugs will soon be a thing of the past

Credit: Raymond Wong/DVICE

USB plugs, as you know them, are about to change in the future. Despite a design that hasn't changed externally since its official release in 1996, people still end up plugging the wrong side in, then flipping it over to plug the right side in.

If Type-A (the full-size kind) and Type-B (the fat kind usually used by printers) and Micro-B (the ones used by mobile devices) and every other USB type in between have gotten the best of you over the years, then fear not, because a new kind of USB 3.0 — Type-C —is already being developed.

Like Apple's tiny Lightning connector, Type-C USB ports will be reversible, which means you won't have to align the pins in the right orientation anymore. The USB 3.0 Promoter Group (yes, it's a real org) also says the Type-C USB port will be smaller; about the same size as a Micro USB plug, and will support power charging. (Similar to how HP's Chromebook 11 uses a USB port to charge.)

That said, the new Type C USB plug will break compatibility with any existing USB types. Can't have progress without ditching old tech, right?

If you're willing to toss out the old and move on with the new, you'll find yourself surrounded by even thinner smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops in the future, says Alex Peleg, Intel's vice president of the Platform Engineering Group.

Thinner and lighter gadgets are great, but the thing I'm most excited for? Not having to explain to my mom for the umpteenth time that the USB plug won't go in because it's plugged in the wrong direction.

Via USB.org

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