Author(s): Raghu Gopal
There are many advantages to USB Type-C. User numbers isn't one of them, yet.
USB Type-C is becoming the cable connectivity and charging standard for devices, starting with smartphones and expanding to tablets and laptops. This type of connection supports faster charging, more power, quicker data transfers and, perhaps addressing the main weakness of past USB iterations, Type-C connectors are reversible. There's no wrong side up.
Currently about a dozen smartphone models, as well as various tablets, laptops and external hard drives, use Type-C but the numbers are increasing at a rapid pace. HTC's and LG's latest flagship phones use the new connector, but Samsung's Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, two high-volume models, continue to use micro USB.
There's a chicken-and-egg decision-making process here. The current micro USB environment has created a comfort zone, and during the past 10 years it has become a broad ecosystem with billions of devices using it and even more cables. A vast network of cable-sharing compatibility is out there.
Type-C is still a premium feature, but the cost of components and cable accessories are expected to drop. It will take about a year for Type-C to work its way through the system and become standard. But this will be a year of cable discomfort. The days of blind power-sharing are coming to an end.
This is more an observation than a prediction. Looking around offices and meeting tables, it's clear there's apprehension about Type-C. Forgetting to bring a Type-C charger means you have to hope there's a Type-C brethren about or else you're out of luck. But these episodes of cable panic will end after the momentum builds.