Various new USB-C identification symbols for cable and port packaging it has just fallen. Businesses can use the symbols to help consumers understand which USB-C cables, ports, and charging devices can do what.
The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), a group that maintains the USB standard, created the new icons, which work in conjunction with the USB4 and 240 watt (W) power standards.
While ultimately it’s nice to have symbols to help identify which USB accessories can do what, the new icons exemplify an ongoing problem with USB-C – it’s confusing.
USB-C was supposed to be much simpler. One port to rule them all, everything just works, etc. Except that’s not the case.
Tech veterans are likely to have no problem here (the new identification symbols generally do a good job of communicating what a cable can do). But for those who are not immersed in the world of technology, try to find out if you need the 40Gbps USB4 cable or the 240W USB Type-C cable or the one that does both (or the one that does neither. ) could be confusing.
The edge notes that the new branding ties in with the USB Power Delivery (USB PD) 3.1 specification announced earlier this year, which confusingly lives under the USB Type-C Release 2.1 specification. Ultimately, all of these things are trying to communicate the level of power that charging cables and bricks can deliver, now up to 240W with the right combination of cable and brick.
I would say that having identification symbols is better than not having them. It’s also arguably better than having several different types of ports, although in many cases, people still need USB-A, HDMI, DisplayPort, and other types of ports (we’re definitely not in a single-port world yet). And don’t tell me about the variety of proprietary charging hardware from laptop manufacturers that use the Type-C port but are not included in any USB spec.
When compared to another specification that uses the USB Type-C port, Thunderbolt 4, it is clear that USB is much more confusing. Anyone shopping for a Thunderbolt 4 cable just needs to look for the Thunderbolt 4 logo, and then you’ll know that it can handle everything in the spec.
For me, that’s the ultimate solution – a standard that works for everything I need. Upload, video, data transfer, etc. Maybe USB will come one day.