Sometimes, traditional USB connectors make navigation difficult. The standard Type-A connector, for instance, requires both a male and female end, a plug and receptacle. The male end is the rectangular metal piece you may recognize on your flash drive. The female end is any receptacle the male end fits into, such as a port on your computer.

USB connector

A Type-C USB connector is in the works.
Image: Wikimedia Commons

To fit these two parts together, you must point the male end right-side up. If you point it down it won’t go in, and then you may go through that familiar routine of grinding the plug against the receptacle with no desired results. No one wants to see that familiar foible, even once, but it can happen to the best of us.

To help interactions move more smoothly in the future, the USB Implementors Forum is working on a new type of connector that may eliminate the up/down confusion. According to Cnet‘s Stephen Shankland, the Forum is developing a new Type-C connector that will function in a similar fashion to the Thunderbolt port present on many Mac devices.

You can insert any Thunderbolt plug either up or down into a compatible receptacle. There is no need to figure out the orientation of either piece.

The new Type-C connector may go far to ensure that all of your devices find a common connector standard, as well. You may find it irritating to carry around one charging cable for your phone, another for your laptop, and yet a third for your tablet. If each of your devices come from different manufacturers, you may find this hassle present in every day of your life. Even universal adapters that seek to make your life simpler only represent the fact that all devices do not accept the same style plugs.

Manufacturers have long sought to match the style and technical demands of their devices with proper plugs. In part, the standard, mini, and micro-USB plugs were created for this reason. The new Type-C will follow suit with the mini and micro, as it will be small enough to fit many mobile devices.

Although the Forum has not yet released a design for the Type-C, you can expect to see this new plug and receptacle pair present on newly released mobile devices in a couple years. If widely adopted, your collection of charging and extension cables could move down from three or more to only one. Maybe your frustrations will lessen as well.

Image courtesy of ed g2s via Wikimedia Commons