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  • USB-C: Coming to a Phone Near You
Technology Articles > Cell Phones > Others > USB-C: Coming to a Phone Near You

Things in the tech world are ever-evolving. While it can seem frustrating for gadget-loving consumers (you know the situation -- you just bought the “latest and greatest” in smartphones, and a month later, something even greater comes out), it is a necessary thing. Features get better and better, and make our lives much easier with each upgrade.

The next big thing to change on your phones will be the humble USB plug, with the introduction of USB Type-C, or USB-C. It may not seem like something to make a big deal about, but once we tell you a bit more about it, you’ll probably think it’s pretty neat, too.

It’s the Little Things

So let’s get to the biggest, little change that we know you’ll love. The end of the plug you connect to the phone is reversible -- that means no more frustration when you realize you’re plugging it in upside down. It doesn’t matter which way you stick it in, since either way is correct. Even if that was the only feature that had changed about the USB plug, it would be enough to get you to upgrade!

The USB-C also supports the USB 3.1 standard, which means you can do other things with it besides juice up your smartphone battery. You’ll be able to power up other devices using your phone, laptop, or tablet when you need to, as well as transfer pictures, videos, and other data via the USB cable.

Since USB-C is going to be the standard with devices across the board, that also means your power cord can be shared among devices.

What Else You’ll Need

You know it can’t just be as easy as changing the port. In order for all of these extra features to actually work, you’ll need to be sure you are using a phone whose operating system supports these extra features. If the software isn’t set up to recognize these changes, that amazing new USB-C cord won’t really be as amazing, will it?

The soon-to-come Android M OS, the next version of Android in the works, will be what you need to ensure these features are usable. Back in May at an I/O developer conference, Google announced to attendees it was working towards USB-C connector support, although they didn’t touch on when that would be ready.

They did describe how it would work. When you connect the USB-C cable to your device, a menu will pop up asking you to select the reason for the connection -- do you want to charge, or do you want to transfer, etc -- and if you want the cord to power another device altogether.

What Will Become Easier Starts Out Frustrating

If you choose a phone that uses USB-C currently, that means you’ll be stuck switching out cables just to get certain tasks done. It might even mean you have to go out and purchase another type of USB cable in the interim, just to make sure you can do what you need to do until the OS supports the USB-C protocol fully. That will make it seem that much more worth it when the OS catches up to the USB technology!

The only Apple product that will rely on the USB-C is the MacBook -- that port is already featured on MacBooks. It’s also on the Nokia N1 tablet, Chromebook, and 3 models of the Letv Le Superphones. It’s safe to guess that Android phones released after this cable is fully supported will feature Type-C cables, but that’s just a guess.