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-   -   USB 3.1 with new Type C connector (https://forum.dvdtalk.com/tech-talk/624441-usb-3-1-new-type-c-connector.html)

Jay G. 01-06-15 11:40 AM

USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 
The USB 3.1 standard with the new Type C connector is entering into the market. The new Type C connector replaces all the previous A and B connectors, including the Micro-B, aka "Micro USB" connector used on most phones. The type C connector is reversible, like Apple's Lightning connector, meaning no more concern about plugging it in "the wrong way". Since the connector isn't backwards compatible, it's small and isn't as unwieldy as USB 3.0's micro-USB connection. Also, it's replacing the A connector on the PC end, meaning that laptops and tablets may be able to fit in multiple C connectors in place of the 1 or possibly 0, USB A ports.

In addition to the connector, USB 3.1 also doubles the speed to 10Gb/s, and increases the power output to a possible 5V 3A, meaning 15W total.

CNet has an on-hands review of the connector:
http://www.cnet.com/news/usb-type-c-...and-its-great/

The first device to have a Type C connector is the Nokia N1, although it's only a USB 2.0 interface:
http://n1.nokia.com/en


More info:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB#USB_3.1

Psi 01-06-15 12:11 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 
This is a great news, and this set up would be even better than the Apple Lightning system, since you use the same connector at both ends of the cable. With Lightning, you still have USB Standard A at one end.

But, I guess it takes time to proliferate, so we will have cables with A connector on one end, and C on the other end for a long time.

D.Pham4GLTE (>60GB) 01-06-15 12:11 PM


Originally Posted by Jay G. (Post 12354092)
The USB 3.1 standard with the new Type C connector is entering into the market. The new Type C connector replaces all the previous A and B connectors, including the Micro-B, aka "Micro USB" connector used on most phones. The type C connector is reversible, like Apple's Lightning connector, meaning no more concern about plugging it in "the wrong way". Since the connector isn't backwards compatible, it's small and isn't as unwieldy as USB 3.0's micro-USB connection. Also, it's replacing the A connector on the PC end, meaning that laptops and tablets may be able to fit in multiple C connectors in place of the 1 or possibly 0, USB A ports.

In addition to the connector, USB 3.1 also doubles the speed to 10Gb/s, and increases the power output to a possible 5V 2.5A, meaning 15W total.

CNet has an on-hands review of the connector:
http://www.cnet.com/news/usb-type-c-...and-its-great/

The first device to have a Type C connector is the Nokia N1, although it's only a USB 2.0 interface:
http://n1.nokia.com/en

More info:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB#USB_3.1

I like reversible.


Btw, 5v 2.5A= 12w.

My note 4 already supports 15w charging with micro usb, though it is done my increasing the voltage. Some chromebooks use 5v 3a,so going to 5v 2.5a is a reduction in charging potential.

Jay G. 01-06-15 01:08 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 

Originally Posted by D.Pham4GLTE (>60GB) (Post 12354152)
Btw, 5v 2.5A= 12w.

My bad, the max is 5V 3A, so it's still 15W max. I've edited my post.

Ranger 01-06-15 01:20 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 
3 amps!!! Whoo!!!

Question: with USB 2.0 (480mbps - 60 MB/s) is actually about 30 MB/s max w/ latency (?), does that mean the speed with USB 3/3.1 is half of what it says 5/10Gb/s?

Jay G. 01-06-15 02:04 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 

Originally Posted by Ranger (Post 12354268)
Question: with USB 2.0 (480mbps - 60 MB/s) is actually about 30 MB/s max w/ latency (?), does that mean the speed with USB 3/3.1 is half of what it says 5/10Gb/s?

The hands-on test showed 800MB/s read/write speed to a RAID 0 of two SSDs. That's more than half (10Gb/s is 1.25GB/s, and half that would be 640MB/s). It's not clear if the limitation is the interface or the drives.

Supermallet 01-06-15 04:35 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 
Please god yes let's get rid of old USB ports.

Does this update fix the bug that allowed malicious code to be added to a machine by any USB device?

fumanstan 01-06-15 05:54 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 
Sounds good to me, but yeah I imagine Type-C to A cables will be quite prevalent for awhile given how wide spread USB is on people's computers and laptops. And thinking about it, i'm not sure how much sense or how practical it would be it has to have the reversible Type-C for basic charging for phones and what not because of it anytime soon.

Supermallet 01-06-15 07:11 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 
Huh? I think phones would be some of the first to move over to the new standard.

fumanstan 01-06-15 07:43 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 

Originally Posted by Supermallet (Post 12354755)
Huh? I think phones would be some of the first to move over to the new standard.

Sorry, I meant having a Type C to Type C cable as your phone's charging cable and replacing the standard Type A connector on the other end. I shouldn't have used the word reversible since it was used in reference to the one end of the cable earlier opposed to having both ends the same as the article also mentions.

wmansir 01-07-15 03:09 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 
I know the connectors aren't backwards compatible, but do they offer some sort of pin compatibility so that a simple adapter can work with USB hosts/devices?

Sonic 01-07-15 03:20 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 

Originally Posted by wmansir (Post 12355678)
I know the connectors aren't backwards compatible, but do they offer some sort of pin compatibility so that a simple adapter can work with USB hosts/devices?


This means before Type-C becomes universal, existing host and peripheral devices will need an adapter to work with other Type-C-enabled devices.

This is the fist time adapters are required with USB, and likely the only time, at least for the the foreseeable future. USB Implementers Forum, the group responsible for the development of USB, says that Type-C USB is designed to be future-proof, meaning the design will be used for future and faster USB versions.

More info here

Jay G. 01-07-15 05:06 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 

Originally Posted by wmansir (Post 12355678)
I know the connectors aren't backwards compatible, but do they offer some sort of pin compatibility so that a simple adapter can work with USB hosts/devices?

I don't know if it will be as simple as matching pins, since type C is reversible, so you can't presume a pin on the type C connector will be a particular pinout (it will be one of two possible). However, there will likely be small adapters.

From Wiki:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB#USB_3.1

Type-A and Type-B adaptors/cables will be required for legacy devices in order to plug into Type-C hosts, however adaptors/cables with a Type-C receptacle are not allowed.
I imagine there will be a lot of Type-A to Type-C cables for connecting Type-C devices to older PC/Chargers. And there will likely be Type-C to Type-A port adapters for plugging older devices into newer laptops and tablets with Type-C ports.

RoboDad 01-07-15 05:07 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 
This cnet article claims that type C and 3.1 can carry up to 20V and 5A (100W). Is that correct, or is it limited to 5V at 3A (15W)?

They are saying it could power a laptop.

Jay G. 01-07-15 05:33 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 

Originally Posted by RoboDad (Post 12355821)
This cnet article claims that type C and 3.1 can carry up to 20V and 5A (100W). Is that correct, or is it limited to 5V at 3A (15W)?

That's part of the USB Power Delivery Specification. It's not specifically part of USB 3.1 (it can be added to USB 2.0 and USB 3.0), and I'm not sure it's specifically required:
http://www.usb.org/developers/powerdelivery/

This slide presentation from 2012 on the spec shows that you need a "PD aware" cable to get the higher power, and micro-USB is limited to 60W:
http://www.usb.org/developers/powerd...troduction.pdf

The 3.1 spec might have more specific info:
http://www.usb.org/developers/docs/

DVD Polizei 01-07-15 06:38 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 
Future-proof. Designed. :lol:

I've heard this so many times over the last few decades. This is a nice new product but I sincerely doubt future-proof will be part of it.

Jay G. 01-07-15 07:41 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 

Originally Posted by DVD Polizei (Post 12355920)
Future-proof. Designed. :lol:

I've heard this so many times over the last few decades. This is a nice new product but I sincerely doubt future-proof will be part of it.

I doubt that it will be a connector that will never be replaced, but I'm thinking by "future-proof," they mean being able to update/change the spec without having the change the connector, similar to how USB 1.1 and 2.0 used the same connectors as USB 1.0, and unlike how USB 3.0 needed new connectors.

HDMI has gone through 5-13 revisions, depending on how you count it, and kept the same connector:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDMI#Version_comparison

Jay G. 01-07-15 08:09 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 
OK, I dug into the PDFs included in the USB 3.1 spec.

Here's more info, from the "USB Type-C Specification Release 1.0.pdf"


http://i.imgur.com/xrzA95t.png

The USB Type-C receptacle is specified for current capability of 5 A whereas standard USB Type-C cable assemblies are rated for 3 A. The higher rating of the receptacle enables systems to deliver more power over directly attached docking solutions or using appropriately designed chargers with captive cables when implementing USB PD. Also, USB Type-C cable assemblies designed for USB PD and appropriately identified via electronic marking are allowed to support up to 5 A.
So it looks like Type-C cables and ports by default support 5V up to 3A. However, if the cables and ports are also "Power Delivery" designed, they can support up to 20V 5A.


Also, from "USB_PD_R2_0 V1.0 - 20140807.pdf":

A. Power Profiles
Power Profiles are optional normative. They define a standardized set of voltages at several current ranges that are offered by USB Power Delivery Sources. The profiles are defined for Sources only.
The Power Profiles are optional but are intended to provide a finite set of power levels to:
  • Limit the number of voltages and current combinations a Source has to supply
  • Provide a well-defined set of voltage and current combinations from which a Sink can choose
  • Provide a selection of power ranging from 10W to 100W in approximately 2x steps
  • Limit the number of valid combinations
A.1 Profile Definitions
There are the following profiles based on Fixed Supply Objects:
  • Profile 0 reserved
  • Profile 1 capable of supplying at least 5V @ 2.0A
  • Profile 2 ports are capable of supplying at least [email protected] 2.0A, 12V @ 1.5A.
  • Profile 3 ports are capable of supplying at least 5V @ 2.0A, 12V @ 3A.
  • Profile 4 ports are capable of supplying at least 5V @ 2.0A, 12V and 20V at 3A respectively.
  • Profile 5 ports are capable of supplying at least 5V @ 2.0A, 12V and 20V at 5A respectively.
Power Profiles are defined to overlap such that a Device that requires a Profile 2 Source will operate equally well when connected to a Profile 2 or any higher Profile Source.

Sources may have additional capabilities. For example a Source might advertise 5V @ 3.0A, 12V and 15V at 1.5A respectively. It is a Profile 2 Source because it meets the Profile 2 requirements to supply 5V @ 2.0A and 12V @ 1.5A. The fact that it can also supply 5V @ 3.0A and 15V will have no effect on a Device that wants a Profile 2 source.

Profile 5 Sources that are capable of 100W operation are subject to various worldwide safety standards. In order to meet the most common safety standards, the continuous output power cannot exceed 100W and the continuous output current cannot exceed 5A.
So devices and power sources that use Power Delivery will likely have a Power Profile rating, depending on what voltages and amperage it can supply. It's possible that this power profile will be mentioned in the specs, or the manufacturers may just list the power combinations their power supplies support.

It is an interesting development, even though it's not tied specifically to Type-C. It does mean that there's the chance of maybe getting a "universal" power connector, even for laptops. And since it's over USB, it can even be used for say a docking station that both supplies power and additional USB ports for laptops and devices.

D.Pham4GLTE (>60GB) 01-08-15 09:11 AM

Is this something exclusive to usb 3.1 though? The turbo charger supports up to 12v already over usb 2.0. Not sure if a higher voltage could be supported though, unlikely for mobile devices as car is limited to 12v. You can upconvert theoretically but it is more difficult.


And I thought that 5a could theoretically be supported on usb 2.0 as well?

Jay G. 01-08-15 09:36 AM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 

Originally Posted by D.Pham4GLTE (>60GB) (Post 12356354)
Is this something exclusive to usb 3.1 though?

No, the Power Delivery Specification has been around since 2012, and as an optional spec, can be applied to USB 2.0 ports and up.


The Motorola Turbo Charger uses Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 technology, which according to this article is at least patially based on Power Delivery 2.0:
http://www.androidauthority.com/quic...lained-563838/

It looks like Power Delivery is an update/replacement to the older "Battery Charging Specification revision 1.2 (BC1.2)"
http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1279469

The takeaway is the USB 3.1 with Type C will offer a higher "default" maximum current of up to 3A on the standard 5V. So if you see a USB 3.1/Type C port you know it will at least support that. The optional PD spec allows the option for higher voltages and amperage, but it's not standard, so you'll have to look for specific chargers/cables/devices that can support it.

D.Pham4GLTE (>60GB) 01-08-15 11:46 AM


Originally Posted by Jay G. (Post 12356382)
No, the Power Delivery Specification has been around since 2012, and as an optional spec, can be applied to USB 2.0 ports and up.

The Motorola Turbo Charger uses Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 technology, which according to this article is at least patially based on Power Delivery 2.0:
http://www.androidauthority.com/quic...lained-563838/

It looks like Power Delivery is an update/replacement to the older "Battery Charging Specification revision 1.2 (BC1.2)"
http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1279469

The takeaway is the USB 3.1 with Type C will offer a higher "default" maximum current of up to 3A on the standard 5V. So if you see a USB 3.1/Type C port you know it will at least support that. The optional PD spec allows the option for higher voltages and amperage, but it's not standard, so you'll have to look for specific chargers/cables/devices that can support it.

If 3a max, what is the minimum?

Jay G. 01-08-15 12:17 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 

Originally Posted by D.Pham4GLTE (>60GB) (Post 12356608)
If 3a max, what is the minimum?

I think the minimum current is whatever the device is pulling. If it's only pulling 200mA, then the port is only going to deliver 200mA

The lowest possible "maximum" it will deliver is 500mA if it's a USB 2.0 device (or at least identifies as one). It's possible for a USB 2.0 device with BC 1.2 specification to get up to 1.5A though, or up to 3.0A with the PD spec. See the chart I posted above.

edstein 01-08-15 12:41 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 
This is good news but I think I still like the male connector style of the Apple Lightening connector. The female "mini" and "micro" usb connectors are a bitch sometimes to plug into devices. This new type C is not that much different from those, just reversible.

fumanstan 01-08-15 01:01 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 
Are they really a bitch to plugin for you? I don't think i've ever had any issues plugging in devices with micro or mini USB compared to a lightning cable, although I have had one micro-usb cable stop fitting in properly.

As much as I do like the reversible lightning cable, I still fucking hate having to deal with Apple specific cables (as someone who has a lot of other non-Apple devices)

RichC2 01-08-15 01:28 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 
They don't bother me too much, I more or less just dislike the port or cable occasionally stops fitting after a few months.

Jay G. 01-08-15 02:11 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 

Originally Posted by RichC2 (Post 12356785)
They don't bother me too much, I more or less just dislike the port or cable occasionally stops fitting after a few months.

Micro-USB was specifically designed so that if something goes wrong, it goes wrong with the cable.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB#Overview

Counter-intuitively, the "micro" size is the most durable from the point of designed insertion lifetime... Micro connectors were designed with frequent charging of portable devices in mind; not only is design lifetime of the connector improved to 10,000 cycles [but it was also redesigned to place the flexible contacts, which wear out sooner, on the easily replaced cable, while the more durable rigid contacts are located in the micro-USB receptacles. Likewise, the springy part of the retention mechanism (parts that provide required gripping force) were also moved into plugs on the cable side.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB#Mi...cro_connectors

The Micro plug.. [is] designed to reduce the mechanical wear on the device; instead the easier-to-replace cable is designed to bear the mechanical wear of connection and disconnection.
I think the Type-C connector continues with the trend of putting the things most likely to wear out on the plug end.

It's not clear with Lightning, but it seems like at least the retention mechanism is built into the receptacle side, meaning it's likely that when it wears out, it will mean the device with the port won't be able to retain a plug in it anymore, and it won't be fixable by just getting a new cord.

fumanstan 01-08-15 07:20 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 
http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2015/...-going-to-use/

A lot of stuff that's already posted here, but some also interesting tidbits about it.


Both DisplayPort and MHL have already announced support for USB Alternate Mode, meaning that properly configured devices will be able to use physical USB Type-C cables to transmit non-USB data. A Type-C cable has four data lanes across eight pins, and these lanes are capable of carrying either USB 3.1 or DisplayPort signals (or any other Alternate Mode data, really). You could devote two lanes to each protocol, allowing you to drive a monitor and transfer data via USB 3.1 over the same cable. Or you could give over all four ports to the DisplayPort protocol, in which case the Type-C cable can use its dedicated USB 2.0 pins to transfer data over the older protocol—it's slower, but still plenty fast for mice, keyboards, game controllers, and many other peripherals.

For an easy real-world example, consider Apple's Thunderbolt display. Using Thunderbolt, you can use a single cable both to drive the external display and to add additional USB ports, Ethernet, and speakers. USB Type-C and USB 3.1 can be used the same way. Older monitors with USB hubs in them needed separate cables for the data and video signals. The USB-IF had a demo station to show this off—an external hard drive and display were being driven over USB Type-C, and you could disconnect them both from the host laptop by unplugging a single cable. At the moment this demonstration requires a maze of cables and exposed circuit boards, but by the time it comes to market it will all be condensed enough to fit inside your computer.

Taken together, all of these capabilities make it feasible to create devices like that look like the rumored MacBook Air renders that have been floating around all week. 9to5Mac's sources suggest a redesigned MacBook Air that uses a single USB Type-C port for everything—charging, transferring data, and pushing external displays. It is, in our opinion, highly impractical for Apple or anyone else to ship a PC with just a single do-everything port, but these new USB specs make such a device possible. Eventually, we'd fully expect to see laptops that simply ship with a handful of USB ports instead of the mix of USB, HDMI, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, and other interfaces that are so common now.

Jay G. 03-09-15 05:12 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 
Apple announced a new 12" Macbook that has a single USB Type C connector as its only port. Everything, including powering the laptop, goes through this connector:
http://arstechnica.com/apple/2015/03...splay-macbook/

Ranger 03-09-15 05:19 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 
But other new Macbooks will have the regular connections?

And the Macbook Air is still the only macbook that doesn't have a DVD drive?

Psi 03-09-15 05:28 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 

Originally Posted by Jay G. (Post 12417887)
Apple announced a new 12" Macbook that has a single USB Type C connector as its only port. Everything, including powering the laptop, goes through this connector:
http://arstechnica.com/apple/2015/03...splay-macbook/

Not surprising, but I wonder what Apple plans to do with the Lightning connector now. In many ways, USB-C is more desirable, but they have so much invested already in Lightning that I think it will be difficult for them to give it up.

Bob_Bobbson 03-09-15 05:29 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 

Originally Posted by Ranger (Post 12417894)
But other new Macbooks will have the regular connections?

And the Macbook Air is still the only macbook that doesn't have a DVD drive?

Not sure on the first question, but none of the MacBook models have disc drives now. I bought a new MacBook Pro last year and it didn't have one.

Jay G. 03-09-15 07:44 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 

Originally Posted by Ranger (Post 12417894)
But other new Macbooks will have the regular connections?

Yes, the new Macbook Pros have standard connections, including upgraded Lightning 2.0 ports:
http://arstechnica.com/apple/2015/03...same-displays/

More info on the new Macbook
http://arstechnica.com/apple/2015/03...e-port-wonder/

The most controversial thing about the MacBook is its port configuration: it’s got a headphone jack for audio, and a single USB Type C port for literally everything else.

Apple leaned on its various wireless technologies—AirPlay, AirDrop—to compensate for the lack of ports, but that doesn’t account for what many power users actually do with their laptops. They’re portable machines, yes, but you can also plunk them down on a desk and connect them to power and peripherals and larger displays for a more desktop-esque experience. How do you do this on a laptop with one port?

The answer, for better or worse, involves yet more dongles. Apple was showing off a couple of things that split the Type C port into a few different, more conventional ports made possible by Type C’s support of multiple protocols. One had a Type C port for charging, an HDMI port for video out, and a USB Type A port for accessories. Another used a VGA port instead of HDMI.

Those were the only first-party versions we saw, but we’re sure either Apple or third-parties will create versions with Ethernet ports, DisplayPort, and whatever other kind of interfaces people want to use. Apple's first-party adapters cost $79, so let's hope third-parties can get there for a little less money.

The new MacBook's charger is a cross between the standard MacBook charger and an iPhone or iPad charger. It uses a regular USB Type C cable that unplugs from the adapter—no more replacing the whole brick just because the cable frays—but the brick itself is comparable in size to the 45W adapter that ships with the MacBook Air.

USB Type C, the USB Power Delivery spec, and USB Alternate Mode make it a very versatile connector. It can carry USB signal (this is USB 3.0, not 3.1—Type C and 3.1 are separate specs), up to 100W of power, and any number of different display protocols. Just get ready to shell out for new dongles to replace your old dongles.

oncease 03-10-15 02:05 AM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 
I can forgive 1 port.
I can forgive Core M
I can even forgive a 480p webcam

The Glowing Logo: No

Jay G. 03-10-15 07:12 AM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 

Originally Posted by oncease (Post 12418329)
I can forgive 1 port.
I can forgive Core M
I can even forgive a 480p webcam

The Glowing Logo: No

From the article above:

The one thing this MacBook doesn’t have that all MacBooks have had is a glowing Apple logo on the back of the lid, which we assume was thrown out to save space—it’s been replaced by a reflective, smooth logo like the one on iDevices.

flagstone 03-10-15 03:35 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 
The adapters in the Apple store include a "legacy" USB port, a USB-C port and a video port (HDMI or VGA) - but not as far as I see an Ethernet port. Is there some technical reason behind this, or is it just an Apple thing?

Jay G. 03-10-15 03:47 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 

Originally Posted by flagstone (Post 12419026)
The adapters in the Apple store include a "legacy" USB port, a USB-C port and a video port (HDMI or VGA) - but not as far as I see an Ethernet port. Is there some technical reason behind this, or is it just an Apple thing?

I'm guessing an Apple thing. You could add a USB Ethernet adapter to the legacy USB port on their adapters.

flagstone 03-10-15 05:13 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 
True, but I'd hope to avoid having to chain multiple dongles together to get back to where I was. :)

Jay G. 03-10-15 06:51 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 

Originally Posted by flagstone (Post 12419188)
True, but I'd hope to avoid having to chain multiple dongles together to get back to where I was. :)

You could wait for 3rd party adapters, one of them is bound to include an ethernet port.

DaveNinja 03-11-15 11:26 AM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 
They came out with a Thunderbolt->Ethernet adapter for the when the rMBPs came out so i would think they would have one coming out for USB-C.

Jay G. 03-11-15 01:32 PM

Re: USB 3.1 with new Type C connector
 
Google has launched the 2nd gen Chromebook Pixel today, and it uses USB C ports too, although it has two of them, and also two conventional USB ports.

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2015/...imited-appeal/

My favorite thing about the Pixel is how it uses USB Type C, and I suspect that most PC OEMs are going to ape what Google has done here when their laptops begin including the new connector.

We won’t recap all of Type C’s features here, but this is what you need to know to understand how the Pixel is using it. The Type C connector can be used for a whole lot more than file transfers and accessories—the supplementary USB Power Delivery spec allows Type C to provide up to 100W of power. USB Alternate Mode allows the physical USB cable to carry other kinds of signals, including DisplayPort and HDMI. And the Type C connector is physically larger and more robust, which inspires more confidence than the sometimes-flimsy Type B [Micro] connector does.

Google is using all of these in the Pixel. The laptop charges via USB Type C rather than a standard power adapter, and it uses Type C plus various dongles (yes, yet more dongles) to drive HDMI and DisplayPort displays. Unlike the recently announced Retina MacBook, Google has included one Type C port on either side of the laptop, which is kind of ingenious: you can plug in the power adapter or the display from either side. Normally, you need to twist your charger cable around to accommodate the location of the power connector. In the Pixel, you just plug it in on whatever side is the most convenient.

It’s a small change, but when I first saw it I had one of those forehead-slapping “of course” moments. The ability to plug either your power adapter or your monitor in from either side is a big help if your desk at home has a different layout from your desk at work, or if the surge protector on your side of the couch/bed is opposite the power plug on whatever laptop you’re currently using.

One thing about USB Type C that we’ve mentioned several times is that, even though it promises to be the only port you need, in these early days it’s just something else to adapt to. The fact that the Pixel has more ports than the Retina MacBook is great, and its two run-of-the-mill USB Type A plugs help too. But if you want to plunk it down on your desk with all of your existing monitors and other accessories, you still need to be prepared to buy some new dongles or adapters.

Google's official dongles vary in price; male Type C to male Type A cables and male Type C to female Type A cables will each run $13. Type C to DisplayPort and Type C to HDMI will each run $40. As Type C ports become more common, hopefully these adapters and dongles become more plentiful and inexpensive.

....The USB Type C adapter included with the laptop can provide up to 71.5W of power to the Pixel if you're charging an empty battery, and Google claims that you can get "two hours of battery life with just 15 minutes of charge." If you've got a Type C cable and any other USB charger, you can still use it to charge the Pixel, it just won't be as fast. Depending on how much power your adapter can provide, you may need to put the Pixel to sleep or shut the lid to actually charge the battery.


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