USB gets even more versatile
Anyone who curses when they try to plug in a USB cable would do well to remember what it was like before this ubiquitous connector. Setting up SCSI, Parallel and Serial cables was decidedly tricky compared to the plug-and-play abilities of the USB connection.
But it's still really, really annoying when you're fumbling in the dark, or around the back of a computer, trying to get it in the right way. Sometimes you start to think that it doesn't fit in any way round.
So it will be something of a relief when USB type "C" arrives. This new format is designed to be reversible. This will be a very good thing, although all those existing non-reversible sockets and cables won't just go away.
But for new equipment, the future for fellow cable-fumblers is bright. And it gets better, because VESA has just announced that they've managed to shoehorn a 4K video signal at 60fps into a USB connection as well.
4K on USB
Using "DisplayPort Alternate Mode" on a USB Type-C Standard connection, a full 4K at 60fps can be delivered to a monitor. The DisplayPort signal is carried unchanged through the USB connection, which helps to make it compatible with existing devices.
All of which means that we're moving closer towards a time when we really will only need a single cable for almost all purposes, with only the slight caveat that Thunderbolt already promised this, and is actually available for anyone using a modern Apple Mac.
The trouble is that very few people have ever seen a Thunderbolt port on a PC, never mind a mobile phone.
Mobile manufacturers like the new type "C" connector because it is extremely small and, because it is reversible, easy to use. The ability to carry 4K video is more likely to push adoption of the new standard, and since people tend to change their phones faster than their computers, we might see this being widely adopted on a fairly short timescale.
See VESA's full press release after the break.