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What Does USB 3.1 and the USB C Connector Mean For Video Ports?

What Does USB 3.1 and the USB C Connector Mean For Video Ports?

With the recent exciting news released by the USB organization about the future of USB, there leaves a lot of questions to be answered.

  • How will this change mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, etc)?
  • What will laptops/netbooks and Chromebooks look like in a year?
  • What does this mean for existing video ports?

The great news is that the new proposed specifications will really change the landscape for USB and jump it forward in a great way. However, as always with new jumps in technology there is inevitable hurdles that have to be assessed and overcome with adapting older technology to work with the newest on the market. We will cover these later in the article. First, let’s get to the most important info, a quick rundown of what the new specifications are for USB 3.1 and the USB Type C Connector:

  • USB C will be the only connection you will need to charge and use all your digital devices. Smartphones, tablets, etc will all be using the USB Type C Connector
  • The connector is much smaller than the current USB A style connector, AND it will be reversible. So no more hassle with trying to figure out which way to plug those cables in.
  • Transfer rates up to 10 GB which is twice the current speed of USB transfer rates!
  • Enhanced power delivery – 20v, 5amps and 100watts
  • USB 3.1 features enhanced power delivery – 20v, 5amps, and 100watts, through the USB Type C Connector which means you can easily charge a smartphone or tablet, but you will also be able to power a monitor from your laptop or charge your laptop through a USB cable connected to a monitor with a power supply. No more power ports on a laptop/netbook or Chromebook. Just USB Type C Connectors.

This is great news for fans of laptops/netbooks and Chromebooks. Since the USB Type C Connector will be able to transmit digital A/V and has built in support for DisplayPort this should drastically cut down on the bulkiness of those devices. Now instead of having a VGA port, HDMI, 4 USB A, a Power connector, these devices can just have between 3-5 small USB C style connectors on them and that is all you need.

The likelihood of all video ports on mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) and laptops/netbooks and Chromebooks moving away from traditional video ports and going straight to the new USB Type C Connector is extremely high. However, in displays, we will more likely see a continuation of what we see on the market now, which is will be displays utilizing HDMI & DisplayPort as the main video inputs.

There will still be the ability to use adapters, adapter cables, and converters in order to connect devices with the new USB Type C Connector to a display that has HDMI and DisplayPort inputs. There is a good probability that some higher end displays will start having the USB Type C Connector on them for direct connections from source devices and also for traditional usage with USB on displays being used for software updates, using external drives to display pictures, movies, and for powering other devices such as the Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire Stick.

Whenever a new technology, new connector or modification to a current technology is introduced there is always the question of “Will I be able to use my existing devices to work with the new ports/connections/device?” the answer to that question is YES! USB 3.1 and the USB Type C Connector will be backwards compatible with previous iterations of USB. However, like the previous updates of USB, in order for you to truly utilize all the new and great specifications of USB 3.1, all devices & cables will need to be USB 3.1 capable. So fear not, there will be adapters, converters, and cables that will allow you to convert your existing USB devices to work with the new USB C connector when it launches.
-By Zachary Miller