When it comes to powering our devices, micro USB is the current standard for Android. The issue (which we’re reminded of when toying with the new HTC One) is that the cable and plug are directional. Unlike the Lightning cable found on iOS devices, we have to angle the charging cable on our Android devices just right. A new standard aims to end that, though, as the USB Implementers Forum is introducing USB 3.1.
Reversible in design, the new USB jack is also universal, and meant for all devices from computers to smartphones. The concept is really easy to grasp, too: it’s like a Lightning cable turned inside out. Rather than have the connectors on the outside, it keeps them facing inward, but rounds the shape of the jack evenly. No more fumbling to get a plug oriented correctly, and no wondering if we even have the right cable with us on trips.
The new cable should be completed in July of this year, with the USB IF saying “We could see products with the new cable by end of year”. The new iteration of USB has a higher data transfer, and is designed to be slipped in and out of ports 10,000 times. The new jack could see success as early as next year, with expectations being that computers will have both USB ports on their devices.
With smartphones, the waters are a little trickier to navigate. The USB 3.1 is a touch larger than the standard micro USB, and the continued push for more svelte design counteracts that. Come 2015, we should know if the new USB standard will make a home on mobile devices.