As CES wraps up, the smaller stories are being picked up on, but one of the last stories isn’t small, but rather about small cables, with Belkin predicting big things for USB Type C.
Your standard USB port may not be a big deal right now, but there’s a good chance that 2016 will herald a proper change for it, as more devices embrace the “Type C” variant of the port.
If you’re not quite sure what we mean, the rectangular port on your laptop and desktop — and possibly a tablet or two — is due for a change this year, as more computers are expected to receive what is considered the next universal standard.
Called “USB Type C”, it’s a thin ovular port that is a little like Apple’s Lightning, meaning you can plug it in any way you prefer without risk of breaking the port or cable.
USB Type C brings with it more than just a better design, with more speed along for the ride, too.
USB Type C also carries a greater charge, which allows laptops and tablets to that don’t require a massive brick to be charged directly from this port, slimming down on the amount of ports that are needed, and even making your power cable a little more universally friendly. When tablets and laptops use this style of port, if you lose the cable, you can simply buy another to charge from.
But USB Type C also brings a caveat to the table, and it’s something buyers of the 2015 Apple MacBook are only all too aware of: with more of a reliance on this new port standard, the other ports are often decreased in number, usually to help with the reduction in device thickness.
That means you tend to rely on USB Type C for all of your needs, and that means you may need some new cables for your work. Owners of the Apple MacBook likely learned the hard way with this, with their accessories costing a little more last year when the first few arrived on store shelves.
Fortunately, 2016 will be a little different, especially now that more tablets, laptops, and even phones are beginning to embrace USB Type C.
As such, this year Belkin is also getting into the accessory game for USB Type C a little more aggressively, using CES as the place to launch a variety of cables.
Most of the range is available now, and it includes pretty much every cable you probably rely on today all modified to work with the USB Type C standard.
They include the mini-USB connections used for GoPro cameras and other older cameras, a VGA output to connect a phone or computer to a monitor, USB standard (also known as USB-A) for all sorts of devices, USB big (also known as USB-B) for printers, and the microUSB connections used for phones, tablets, headphones, speakers, and just about everything else.
There’s even a way of bringing Gigabit Ethernet to a device via a USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet adaptor. We’re not sure this will work with a USB Type C equipped phone, but you can bet we want to try (not for any real reason, mind you, just because we can).
“USB-C eliminates the need for countless cables, making everyday functions simpler and easier,” said Aaron Shooter, Business Unit Manager at Belkin in Australia.
“Our new range will help consumers adapt to this new technology, letting them connect, charge and transfer data rapidly and safely. As industry leaders, we have also developed a devoted USB-C resource center where consumers can learn more about the benefits of USB-C, and find the right cable for their devices, to ensure the transition is as flawless as possible.”
Belkin’s range should be available in stores now, running from $29.95 to $59.95 depending on the cable, though it will be joined by other variants shortly, too, with the peripheral maker expecting to add a USB Type C variants of a car charger, HDMI adaptor, and four port hub by the middle of the year.