The beginning was sluggish for USB 3.1: A MacBook and a Chromebook with USB connection Type C were presented shortly after. After that, however, nothing happened.
This will change because, on the 27th and 28th of July, the OnePlus 2 was the successor of my personally beloved OnePlus One. The essential technical data are well known, but we are especially interested in the USB connection type C. In the meantime, it is known that it is strongly throttled and does not even have a high-speed mode, so the announcement to offer the first smartphone with USB 3.1 more of the Marketing than from the engineers. Let’s say it: There is now a smartphone with USB port in the form of a type C.
With the OnePlus One, it was enough to demonstrate to the world that a high-end smartphone can be produced at a final price of € 299. However, since this has been repeated since then by several other previously unknown Chinese telephone forgers, OnePlus has a dash on his second self-proclaimed flagship killer, in order to stand out from his stragglers. An octacore processor has not been sufficient for a long time. However, that Samsung, HTC or LG will offer the first smartphone with USB-C connection, but OnePlus, will generate a respectful portion of respect, even if this may be more likely to be the pre-generated hubbub. No Techblog waives these days on analyzes, whether the OnePlus 2 has earned the name flagship killer at all. I will buy one, perhaps only on the basis of my enthusiasm for his predecessor. After all, the weakness of the OnePlus One, the camera, was significantly improved, but the bottom line I do not need a new phone. In addition to the camera is ultimately but the USB C port the purchase argument, but this also only because there should be in an online shop for cables and adapters now better times a device with this connection should give. The people circle of the C-port, however, unfortunately remains limited to our colleagues and us, because the USB 2.0 port in the mechanical robe of a C-socket is of no use to the user.
And yet we see the USB-C connector at the bottom of the OnePlus 2 and not every buyer will know its limitations. If we simply have an above-average technical affinity with the OnePlus customers and assume that they bought the OnePlus One, because CyanogenMod was already very familiar to them, then the customers of the very big manufacturers might look envious because the message arrived at you Is that a very small manufacturer is the first to use this new USB type. This is probably not one of the big manufacturers behind it and want to be at least new flagships as well as just underneath settled models in the upper price segment will also be equipped with USB-C connector.
What is still missing for the right breakthrough of USB 3.1 are other notebooks with this interface. Here, too, it should be very expensive ultrabooks, with which the distribution starts, but this development step could also be pushed by OnePlus. Because so nice USB 3.1 is on the smartphone, it can only play at the notebook its strengths so correctly.
So it is time to prepare for the first encounter with this plug, to speculate about the possibilities offered by it, and to explain how USB 3.1 can be used together with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. It is the downward compatibility that most users will still have to deal with for many years to come.
usb type c vs usb 3.0?
What is USB 3.1 for? There is the legitimate hope that according to smartphones, notebooks now also get a uniform power supply and we can say goodbye to countless proprietary connectors. USB 3.1 is able to transport proud power of 100W from a corresponding power supply, distributed to 20V at 5A. It is still a pure hope that gradually more and more manufacturers exchange the power connections, because unlike smartphones, there is no EU directive for notebooks, which would be comparable to the obligation on Micro-USB. The main reason for the hope, however, this time is Apple. If the only manufacturer that chooses the way to implement the smartphone directive, according to which proprietary connections are allowed, as long as there is adapter on Micro-USB, now became the pioneer when loading a notebook via USB 3.1, it could also be without EU directive function. If so, we could very soon charge smartphone and notebook with a single power supply, which then has so absolutely no similarity with the clunky notebooks as we know them today.
USB 3.1 transports current and data just like the older standards, and this much faster. However, there are now three different operating modes, the more powerful the more lines they use. The current mode just described takes the entire line into line when the full 100W is required. The third mode after power and data transmission is completely new for USB, because USB 3.1 is also a video connection. The new interface, like Apple’s Thunderbolt, can be used as a DisplayPort cable, which is why we will see both monitors with USB 3.1 video inputs as well as adapter cables, which at the other end have a classic video connector like HDMI, DVI and of course the conventional DisplayPort- And Mini DislayPort connectors.
The new maximum data transfer rate is, of course, not less spectacular, as compared to USB 3.0, a smooth doubling to a record of 10 Gbit / s. This alone would already be a quantum leap, but behind the exciting new features such as charging with 100W as well as the video transmission is a bit in the background.
So what will be the cables that are waiting for us and some of which we will buy when the first device with a C connector connects to the existing equipment park?
If you already own a MacBook with USB 3.1, you already know the cable type, which will be the only one we will use, and the end of the USB cable with the cable, which has the plug type C at both ends Two A connectors, with A and B connectors, with mini or micro USB connectors. It connects the two C-connectors of the mains cable and the MacBook, which is why you do not need a cable with an older connector at the other end.
But already the OnePlus 2 is already not so consistent and supplies a power supply with classic USB-A-socket as well as a corresponding charging cable with USB 2.0 plug at the other end. For a smartphone, such a power supply is enough, of course, and it would have been purely cosmetic, the power supply would have also received a C-jack. This in turn would have been a bit silly, if it would not have at the same time 100W power supply and thus also a notebook could load, which would be demanded by a price breaker smartphone too much. It would not only demand too much, but it would have been the requirement to spend money on nice gimmicks that the OnePlus 2 definitely does not need. OnePlus has earned enough laurels with the first USB-C connection, even if they seem a bit questionable. But it is the task of the very big brands with the great prices, the first 3.1-charger with a smartphone to deliver.
Owners of the MacBook can buy their USB devices, so they do not like adapter cables, which can be useful for external drives, because several M.2 SSDs in a case with USB 3.1 port deliver breathtaking transfer speeds at appropriate prices , understood. However, if you do not exchange all devices or use printers that are not accessible via the network, you must actually use an OTG cable on a notebook for the first time, as if it were a smartphone. Alternatively, cables with a C-connector for the notebook as well as USB 2.0 or 3.0 device plugs can be used, such as with a micro USB 2.0 plug. In the future, the solution will look more often when more notebooks have USB 3.1 ports: There is the choice between OTG cables and direct connection cables between the 3.1 host and the 2.0 or 3.0 device. This applies, however, only to devices with detachable cables
Owners of the MacBook can buy their USB devices, so they do not like adapter cables, which can be useful for external drives, because several M.2 SSDs in a case with USB 3.1 port deliver breathtaking transfer speeds at appropriate prices , understood. However, if you do not exchange all devices or use printers that are not accessible via the network, you must actually use an OTG cable on a notebook for the first time, as if it were a smartphone. Alternatively, cables with a C-connector for the notebook as well as USB 2.0 or 3.0 device plugs can be used, such as with a micro USB 2.0 plug. In the future, the solution will look more often when more notebooks have USB 3.1 ports: There is the choice between OTG cables and direct connection cables between the 3.1 host and the 2.0 or 3.0 device. However, this only applies to devices with removable cables and one of the device plugs, ie external drives, printers or scanners, but not for keyboards, mice or memory, WLAN and Bluetooth sticks with non-removable A-connectors. They can only be connected via an OTG cable, which is based on similar devices such as the MacBook, which are based exclusively on USB 3.1. We are likely to experience significantly more notebooks with a mixture of USB 3.1 and USB 3.0, if not 2.0. Even today, it is rather the ultrabooks, which completely renounce to USB 2.0.
Which cable for which purpose?
In the ideal case, but it will be rare for the time being, I do not need any downside compatibility at all, but a pure USB 3.1 cable with two C connectors. At the moment, such cables charge especially the MacBook, but who is today a notebook – so He finds one – with USB 3.1 added, there will be a lack of devices to test the new interface. But no question, this cable type belongs to the future, because one has first USB 3.1, the next external drive is also connected via USB 3.1. And in the case of housings, then certainly no hard disk will sit.
If a new monitor comes into the house, and there are already devices with USB 3.1 input instead of or in addition to the classic DisplayPort connection, such a model is sure to be a tight choice. And so it will be with many devices, because the advantages like 10 Gbit / s data transfer and 5K resolutions are just too tempting to access classic interfaces – so the necessary small money is available, of course.
And what about backwards compatibility?
If there is a C-port at only one end of the USB connection, the downward compatibility will enter the game field. The cable on the right, with C-plug and USB 3.0 plug type A, is needed especially when the USB 3.1 device is connected to a USB 2.0 or 3.0 host.
Away from all data connections, such a cable is always required when a smartphone with a C connector is to be loaded on a classic USB power adapter. Although, unlike the OnePlus 2, smartphones should soon be shipped with chargers that have a C-type USB charging jack, many C-port phones will still be connected to a standard sockets or car charger, Their current via the well-known USB socket of the type A.
Apart from charging a smartphone, this cable is required to connect existing USB 3.1 devices to USB 2.0 or 3.0 ports. Maybe someone is already an owner of an external SSD in a 3.1 housing, but does not have the right computer for this. Or, which sounds much more likely: the new smartphone has a C connector, but the computer is not yet. Bottom line there are a lot of possible applications, because any existing USB device can of course be equipped with a 3.1 port.
The counterpart to the constellation 3.1 peripheral to 2.0- / 3.0 host is, as it might be, a 3.1 host with a 2.0 or 3.0 peripheral. Here you will find models with all common device connectors, if they are not already available: USB Type B in version 2.0 and 3.0, Mini-USB as well as Micro-USB 3.0 as well as the micro USB 2.0 shown on the left. A significant importance will be these cables certainly only when a sufficiently large number of PCs and notebooks with USB 3.1 ports have been sold. Since presumably very rarely only 3.1 ports are installed, with complete renouncement of older standards, as Apple pretended, it will be for the time being an exceptional situation, if someone with an older USB device in front of his notebook and only a C port finds.
However, this method of connecting peripheral devices to legacy USB standards to 3.1 hosts does not necessarily have to be limited to notebooks that will have USB 3.0 and 3.0 ports for a very long time. We are already experiencing an increasing number of devices that are connected directly to the smartphone via an OTG-connected micro-USB plug in the age of smartphones with micro-USB 2.0 connectors, without the OTG cable interposed. Naturally, such a technique is also conceivable for OTG 3.1.
They remain important: OTG cable
The situation with the first smartphones with 3.1 port is quite different and already much more up-to-date. The great need to connect USB devices using OTG cables will continue to be the same and unlike notebooks we will not have any older USB- Connections. In effect, this means that at this time OTG cables are the most important of all USB 3.1 cables.
And so it will of course continue to provide OTG cables. How could it be otherwise, because even a USB 3.1 port on a smartphone is first fixed on the role of the peripheral device and must be informed by an OTG cable over its wiring that he should now be the host.
Furthermore, through USB 3.1 finally still USB 3.0 its way to the smartphone find, because OTG cable with C plug always have a USB 3.0 jack. The one-time attempt to establish a micro-USB 3.0 port and then also OTG cable according to the USB 3.0 standard, the Samsung with the S5 and the note 4 undertaken was not particularly successful and already the S6 And S6 Edge returned to USB 2.0.
Now one can dispute whether USB 3.0 or even 3.1 speeds of a smartphone are needed and used. Micro-USB 3.0 did not really offer a smartphone an advantage over Micro-USB 2.0, but USB 3.1 with its power and video functions has the potential to bring a smartphone a big step forward. So why should an OTG cable have a USB 2.0 socket? The 3.0 socket is down-compatible and it does not interfere with USB 2.0 devices. These work without any restrictions and whoever uses a USB 3.0 memory stick, which is no longer a rarity, can no longer feel the brake. The USB 3.0 socket therefore has advantages, which are perhaps rather rare, but no disadvantages, which makes the decision between USB 2.0 and 3.0 completely clear for 3.0.
In addition, it should not be forgotten that USB 3.1 OTG cables are also required for notebooks. Here it is questioned whether USB 3.0 brings with it an advantage.
Conclusion: Bring us the future, and bring it soon!
So it is dressed up and USB 3.1 can come. At the beginning, it will be twice as fast as a USB standard, which only needs a single connector type. As is known, this plug can no longer be set up in the wrong direction, which is so often mentioned that it only takes place at the end. In addition, this connector can not only charge smartphones, but also notebooks. And finally, it can be used as a DisplayPort output. These are a lot of innovations at once, and hopefully soon, we have identical connections to our notebooks, where we can decide whether to power the notebook, a fast-paced external SSD or a high-resolution display A USB 3.1 port. However, this is not intended for the USB hub integrated into the monitor, but explicitly for the video signal. What awaits us is quite exciting.