USB Type-C is getting new logos in an attempt to solve cable confusion

nanoguy

Posts: 1,020   +14
Staff member
In brief: USB Type-C adoption has improved a lot over the past few years, but the new standard hasn't really made things easier or less confusing for the average consumer. Between all the dongles and various manufacturer implementations that don't always support everything in the official USB Type-C specification, the USB-IF is introducing yet another set of logos that should, at least in theory, make it easier to decide which cables and chargers to purchase depending on your needs.

USB Type-C was supposed to simplify things with a universal standard that would make cables and connectors easier to use for non-technical consumers, but instead, it has grown into a confusing mess of logos and certifications that isn't easy to navigate even for enthusiasts and professionals who are familiar with the intricacies of the technology behind USB Type-C.

This week, the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) sought to make things even better by... adding more power rating logos into the mix. Specifically, the organization has established new official cable and packaging logos that indicate support for either 60 watts or 240 watts of power delivery based on the USB4 and USB Power Delivery 3.1 specification -- the latter being a subset of the USB Type-C 2.1 specification.

It's not yet clear how more of these logos will make things less confusing for the average consumer, but USB-IF says this should make it easier to discern the differences between various USB Type-C cables that you can find on the market. At the same time, the new logos are supposed to "unify branding" across cables and chargers.

Thus, the dream of having just one type of USB Type-C cable that supports everything defined in the standard remains just that -- a dream. For now, you'll have to hunt down logos depending on your specific needs -- 20 Gbps data transfer speeds or 40 Gbps, 60 watts or 240 watts of power delivery -- and that's just for accessory makers that conform to the actual USB-IF standards. Then you have Thunderbolt 4, which does have a single type of cable for everything in the official spec but comes with a higher price tag and is only available for devices equipped with USB4 ports.

Further reading: How USB Works

The move comes hot on the heels of a new plan announced by the European Commission to mandate USB Type-C on all new mobile devices, with the exception of some wearables like fitness trackers and smartwatches.

Permalink to story.

 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,326   +2,585
New logos are neat but you know what else is neat? Something that's even more immediately intuitive? A logical, end user friendly naming convention for the versions: Do something new with USB? Name it 3. Another one that does even faster speed? Name it 4. Then name it 5 if you have even more speed. 6 if you now have more power delivery on a single cable and even more speed.

People would easily remember that instead of "Oh I've got a USB 3 port but is it USB 3.1 for 10gb for my external SSD? Wait is it 3.2? Do I need 3.2 or 3.1?"
 

ScottSoapbox

Posts: 161   +269
USB-C is turning into a dumpster fire of a standard. And the EU is going to make it a legal requirement so it's not going anywhere and more will continue to be shoe horned into the future versions.
 

Gmachine

Posts: 33   +48
New logos are neat but you know what else is neat? Something that's even more immediately intuitive? A logical, end user friendly naming convention for the versions: Do something new with USB? Name it 3. Another one that does even faster speed? Name it 4. Then name it 5 if you have even more speed. 6 if you now have more power delivery on a single cable and even more speed.

People would easily remember that instead of "Oh I've got a USB 3 port but is it USB 3.1 for 10gb for my external SSD? Wait is it 3.2? Do I need 3.2 or 3.1?"
I totally agree. No one wants to know which Gen3 it is, especially when you have to know if it's Gen 3.2 x2. This is pathetic indeed.
 

p51d007

Posts: 2,891   +2,271
I still am amuzed, that the first word in this connector...is the word UNIVERSAL.
USB
USB-A
USB MINI
USB MICRO
USB MICRO2
USB C version 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9....

Yeah, I know the universal part is for the connector on the other end, but it's still amuzing that
the word "universal" is in the name.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,842   +4,492
I still am amuzed, that the first word in this connector...is the word UNIVERSAL.
USB
USB-A
USB MINI
USB MICRO
USB MICRO2
USB C version 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9....

Yeah, I know the universal part is for the connector on the other end, but it's still amuzing that
the word "universal" is in the name.
See I thought it was universal serial bus, AKA the tech behind the connectors is what is universal, not the connectors themselves, instead of proprietary bus speeds and APIs.

They really should make it standard 20 Gbps, 100w, and call it usb 4.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,727   +5,170
See I thought it was universal serial bus, AKA the tech behind the connectors is what is universal, not the connectors themselves, instead of proprietary bus speeds and APIs.
Now, its universal universal serial bus. Maybe they will make the next iteration universal, universal, universal serial bus. That would end any confusion. 🤣 :rolleyes: ;)
They really should make it standard 20 Gbps, 100w, and call it usb 4.
I was thinking the same thing. Companies should have to follow one spec with the same speed and power ratings. The only problem is that companies would P&M about it being too expensive to follow that spec. One spec to rule them all, though IMO, would be the answer and would stand the best chance of ending all the confusion - not to mention, make it easy for customers to get what they want and thought they ordered.
 

Crinkles

Posts: 181   +172
So here we have the European Commission set to mandate USB Type-C on all new mobile devices...

With the notable exception of some wearables like fitness trackers and smartwatches, which probably guarantees no standard for at least another 40+ years. Thanks EC, tangled serial bus nomenclature marches on. I wanted a fast charging cable in my computer case.. but 😂
 

Xelions

Posts: 20   +19
WTF! 240w - this is insane! After that I just read through What is fast charging and New 240W USB Type-C spec... With a power rating that high still gonna be a brick somewhere between the power point and the laptop/device.

Standards are great and all but simplifying them makes it a lot easier to interpret and remember. They could have just made USB Type-C:
  • 4.1 10Gbit/s 50W
  • 4.2 20Gbit/s 100W (2x 4.1)
  • 4.3 40Gbit/s 200W (2x 4.2 OR 4x 4.1)
  • Etc..!

Obviously the specs and cables are a bit more complicated than that. OR instead of taking a simple approach you could put plastic clips / stickies on all USB cables/bricks indicating visually what the speed and power rating is. These could be identifiable within the clear plastic packaging the item comes in instead of creating more logos that don't stand out!
 

rmcrys

Posts: 79   +76
USB-C is turning into a dumpster fire of a standard. And the EU is going to make it a legal requirement...

And that's why...? It is a simple as ALL USB-C are compatible, 1 connector and works. Do you need 40 Gbps or 240W, then you buy a cable and devices accordingly. That's it.

I take my PD charger and I charge my bike light, laptop, dji pocket 2, all our Smartphones and Surface Go 2 and pretty much everything.
 

rmcrys

Posts: 79   +76
So here we have the European Commission set to mandate USB Type-C on all new mobile devices

With the notable exception of some wearables like fitness trackers and smartwatches

At present, almost all Android phones and even my Aldi bike light charge over USB-C; no to mention a lot of cameras or laptops.
 

Xelions

Posts: 20   +19
The confusion isn't helped when your favourite tech site is still calling it USB Type-C
Fairly trivial point. Nevertheless I entertained myself and jumped on over to the USB-IF organisation to find out when it changed. It in fact has not since they themselves are still calling it USB Type-C and USB-C as shown in their latest press release USB-IF Announces New...

I didn't even know USB Type-A was referred to as USB-A, and it is a much simpler naming convention too. I still am interested if you have a source link to when the term USB-C was first introduced. Thanks in advance (y) (Y)
 

ron baer

Posts: 39   +13
On the EU mandating USB-C is that they actually first said they were going to do this when the ipad mini was being rumored