What's New with USB Type-C?



  1. Form factor – Type-C interface has relatively smaller and thinner plug assembly with 24 pins that replaces existing plug assemblies – mini and micro plugs. The Type-C is thinner than the thinnest available ‘micro-B’ (for SS/SSP as well) plug. So, one cable for all your devices – and thinner assemblies.
  2. Backward compatibility – It is seamlessly backward compatible to the available assemblies since the underlying standard remains the same. All the latest devices, be it Apple’s MacBook or Google’s Pixel phone, Samsung Galaxy S8 etc., all support the Type-C standard.
  3. Power requirements – Type-C is compliant with Power Delivery specifications. Type-C cable assembly either of the device or host could be used as source or sink to deliver or consume power. It is possible because Power Delivery has power role change capability and power negotiation capability to higher power. Power Delivery devices can supply 100 watts which is more than sufficient to charge a laptop. Hence using Type-C cable you can charge or even power up a device.
  4. Ease of Use – Type-C is reversible and can be connected in either orientation, which solves a very basic problem with native USB plugs where the plug never fits the first time. There are duplicate pins available that can help the cable connect in either straight or flipped orientation.
  5. Alternate Mode – This is one area that proves that with Type-C, it is not just about USB. Using alternate mode, Type-C cable can connect to third party peripherals other than USB. Some of the peripherals supported are Display Port, MHL, Thunderbolt 3 and most recently HDMI. Alternate Mode must be performed using VDM (Vendor Defined Message) exchanges on CC pin (Power Delivery). This is another way to reduce form factor by supporting multiple peripherals on same connector.
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