Cables are among the most utilized things in our lives. Cables are all around us. We use cables for our smartphones, tablets, computers and every other electrical appliance. Cable is the thing that people known the least about. Today we would be discussing USB (Universal Serial Bus) cables. We are focusing on USB individually because most computers and smartphones come with some form of USB connection. USB is an industry standard that as developed in the 90s. There are various ways to divide USB cables. Firstly there is USB Type A, USB Type B and USB Type C. These types are based on the physical design of the plug and ports. There is also mini USB and micro USB. Other than this there are also two different versions called USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. This division is based on functionality and speed of the cable.
Now before getting into details about each one, first let’s discuss some common terminology. The slot in the computer (Host) where one end of the USB cable is attached either at the back or front of the CPU cabinet is called the Port. And, the electronic device that you wish to transfer data to or charge ( smartphone or tablet) is known as the Receptor.
USB Type A
Now Type A is the most common USB. You will find it at on end of the cable (the end which goes in the slot of the host) of almost every USB cable these days. This will consist of your keyboards, gaming consoles, mouse and other peripherals.
USB Type B
Type B is an almost Square connector, which mostly powers printers and other devices that connect to a computer. You will find them at the opposite end of type A on most cables. This type of cable is becoming less common every day.
This was the standard connector types for mobile devices before Micro USB took over when smartphones came along. As the name would, mini USB is smaller than regular USB. This connector is nearly extinct in the technology marketplace. But some older cameras which do not have standard connectors still use this connector.
For many years Micro USB was the default connector on smartphones. Because of it’s smaller design it allows OEMs to design slimmer smartphones. Nowadays it is slowly phased out by USB type C, but it is still pretty prevalent on smartphones ( especially midrange to low range smartphones). Virtually every tech company embraced micro USB for their mobile devices except Apple which used its lighting cable to use.
USB Type C
This one made a lot of headlines when it first came into the market. Even Apple deployed Type C on its new 12-inch MacBook ( which didn’t have any other port). It is now the default smartphone connector on many flagship smartphones like Samsung Galaxy S9, Note 8, LG V30 and of course Google Pixel. Type C being the newest of all in this list offers faster data transfers than the previous versions. Its most significant advantage is that you can plug either way and it is the right way. Many experts claim that it should be the new standard for mobile devices, While, not quite there yet but slowly it is becoming the industry standard.
So there you have it. The most common of the above bunch is the micro USB and Type C. Micro USB still dominates the Indian market, but that is changing at a quick rate. So if you prefer convenience, you could go for MIcro USB because the chances are that you would have a spare Micro USB cable lying around at your House. If you want to keep up with the technology (or you are a nerd), you could go with Type C, but it could be hard to find a spare. That is the price of every new piece of technology has to pay.
I am a sophomore at IIT Roorkee currently pursuing my B.tech in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering.