To USB or Not to USB


But why? The deal with USB 3.2

 USB 3.2 and the Consumer’s Need for Speed

Devices are now evolving to small, ultrathin laptops, tablets, and hybrids. These tend to be thin and light, and even more powerful. But keep in mind, they are also expensive. For example, to get the latest and most powerful ultralight it would be about $3000 for a Surface Book with a 1TB drive. You could edit  and store your videos while still being left with a ton of space.

But, you could use the same powerful laptop with a smaller drive for about $1500 and buy smaller, external SSDs for a $100 to 200. This allows for you to be able to edit everything on an external drive at the same speed you would edit something on an internal drive. This is all possible today with USB 3.1 but with USB 3.2, it’s done at an even much faster speed.

Almost everyone that has a PC will have a bunch of smaller flash drives, and at least 1-2 big external SSDs to back up their PCs. Power users, the ones that still use PCs for game playing or for video editing will need and want those 3.2 external SSDs.

It’s probably an exaggeration, but probably more kids know how to edit videos today than they know how to check the oil under the hood of a car.


Why have wires at all?

At a minimum, it’s likely that phones and devices will always have a physical port for power. Power standards allow for much faster charging than wireless charging. The equipment for wired charging in the actual products is much cheaper. Wireless charging, at least for now, adds probably $5-20 in parts in the cost of the product. Products must be designed specifically for wireless charging; specific materials can be used. For example, the Apple iPhone X (I’m told) has a glass back to allow for wireless charging. The chargers, the ones that plug into the wall/mains, also are much more expensive than a USB Charging Hub wall charger.

Most chips will have a USB capability as an easy to use initial firmware programming and debug port. Since this can be used in the product at no additional cost, it will be made available to the consumer.

The Type-C connector is now about as small as it can get and it’s flip ability makes it possible to use in the smallest designs. The Power Delivery Standards make it even more complicated.


Aren’t Type-C cables complicated?

Yeah, a little, and it’s a little frustrating, but it will work out in the long run. More next week on that point so stay tuned!


What is the deal with HDMI and USB Type-C?

Type-C does support HDMI. Or rather the HDMI and Type-C standards allow for an alternate mode that supports HDMI 1.4. You can use a standard USB Type-C to HDMI cable, or rather as standard a cable as there are those available. HDMI will be around forever. It’s complementary to USB. I personally think it would be great to replace HDMI with DP and Type-C but it’s just not going to happen. HDMI and USB will exist side by side for a long time until wireless truly because as easy to use as an HDMI cable.


What happened to FireWire? Why did it die?

Firewire’s max speed was 400Mbps (well, it went faster) and had a smaller connector. I, myself, have a bunch of 1394 drives at home. They were awesome because it was faster than USB 1.1 and it was relatively cheap for me to take a $200 hard drive, stick it in a $100 enclosure and use it to back up my kids’ baby videos. It worked totally great!

It died for the same reason the iOmega zip drives died. USB 2.0 deployed in 2001 and by 2003, Mass Storage was the killer app. Flash drives and writable CDs followed by USB hard drives. USB had no additional cost to use because it was part of the Intel chipset. (Firewire always required another chip adding cost. I still have a PC with a Firewire port on it that works. It’s a laptop that’s 10 years old and runs Windows 7.

The USB port looks like a Type-A port you’d find on a PC, rather than the Type-C port which saves 13mm horizontally and is super small.  Still it’s super funny.

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