news hardware Everything changes for USB! This is how you can find yourself in standards hell
Given the dozens of different names currently circulating, USB-IF, the consortium that manages the promotion and marketing of USB standards, has finally decided to clarify the situation with explicit logos that we are now revealing to you. .
From USB 1.0 to USB4 2.0, once upon a time USB…
With USB 2.0, USB 3.0, USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, USB Type-C, and more recently USB4 2.0 standards, do you no longer understand anything about USB socket nomenclature? Don’t worry, neither do we…
After months, what am I saying, years, of accumulating acronyms incomprehensible to ordinary mortals, the brains of USB-IF have finally decided to devise something a little clearer, based on logos and numbers.
No more USB4 2.0 or USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 for us poor bystanders, make way for small, clear and legible pictograms, which an 8 year old or my grandmother is supposed to understand. But how do we get here?
If USB is an integral part of our daily lives, through a USB key to store our data, a cable to charge your phone, as connectors for keyboards or even a small Bluetooth dongle for your headphones or your wireless mouse, It was in 1996 when USB 1.0 appeared.
Intended to replace the many specific ports of the time (parallel port, serial port, SCSI port, PS/2, mouse port, etc.), USB was pioneered by seven major companies of the time, namely Compaq , DEC, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC and Northern Telecom, to unify input ports and reduce cabinet clutter.
Except what was originally supposed to be a simple, universal port quickly became a gas plant over the years and builds. Until 2008, it was pretty simple, USB 2.0 succeeded USB 1.1, before giving way to USB 3.0, which was pretty neat.
But then it all got out of hand, USB 3.0 became USB 3.1 Gen 1, then USB 3.1 Gen 2 before there was USB 3.2 Gen 2 which was actually USB 3.1… HELP!
More recently, we were entitled to USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, before USB4 (all connected!) became official in 2019 and then USB4 2.0 in September 2022, without really understanding why it is nothing more than USB 5.0…
In short, we lose our Latin, and all this without mentioning the different connectors, Type-A, Type-B, Type-C, Mini, Micro…
USB-IF ditches main names and moves to logos
Obviously, it wasn’t just us who didn’t understand anything anymore, and in the face of general chaos, the USB-IF ended up (Hallelujah!) revising their copy in their release.
If the standards will always be rigorous for technicians and engineers, for the consumer these great sages have imagined logos, all this is simpler.
However, there are three paintings on the show (to keep us thinking a bit anyway), one for port performance, one for cables, and one for chargers.
For the ports, it is quite legible, you will find a colored logo on the packaging that indicates the maximum speed of the port (from 5 to 40 Gb/s), the same black and white logo directly on the port and finally a battery icon to indicate if the port is capable of recharging a device and not just transferring data.
As you can see from the cable logo graphic, we’re still getting a little rough here, but with practice, we should get there. Here, The USB-IF offers two logos based on the cable’s data transfer capabilities and supported electrical power.
This is to differentiate the cables that only serve to charge a smartphone more or less quickly and those that can handle everything. Basically, you can have a cable only intended for basic 60W charging or a very good quality cable, capable of charging at 240W and transferring data at 40 Gb/s.
Last logos, intended this time for shippers, and this is where clarity is still lacking, The USB-IF differentiates between conventional USB chargers and “fast charger” types. Except that making the difference between a classic 240W charge and a 100W Fast Charge is incomprehensible… In short, there is still work to be done and you can be sure that it will continue to evolve in the coming months…