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USB 3.0 100W Power Standard Seeks To End Proprietary Chargers

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the tim-the-toolman-taylor dept.

Portables 247

judgecorp writes "The USB 3.0 Promoter Group has published a Power Delivery standard which will deliver up to 100W. The specification (press release with link to full details) includes new bi-directional — and backward compatible — USB cables, and has been proposed as the new connector between mains adapters and laptops, eliminating e-waste by standardizing a proprietary component." At home, only having to run one cable to the wall might be nice, and being able to grab some juice from any friend may end the disaster that is forgetting your laptop power brick when on the road. And imagine only having to pack a single power hub instead of three or four redundant transformers (how many people don't use their laptop to charge their phone nowadays?).

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Obligatory XKCD (4, Insightful)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 2 years ago | (#40746795)

Re:Obligatory XKCD (4, Funny)

ecotax (303198) | more than 2 years ago | (#40746819)

Yeah, but: this standard is Universal!

Re:Obligatory XKCD (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747329)

The connector is standard, the protocol and support for 100W isn't; that's what's new.

Re:Obligatory XKCD (5, Insightful)

Dr. Azrael Tod (1084911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40746839)

The good thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from. -- Andrew S. Tanenbaum

Re:Obligatory XKCD (5, Insightful)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40746919)

Right. Because all those different chargers cover wildly differing use cases, such as "charge battery" and "charge battery".

Re:Obligatory XKCD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747025)

It is a shame, but sadly it will happen again.
All these companies are just too lazy / cheap to change to something that would actually save them money in the long run since they don't need to make any cables now, at the slightly small-but-still-cheaper expense of getting USB3 all sorted out.

Sadly I feel the same thing will happen with the whole HTML5 Vs "HTMLX" nonsense that is happening just now.
People on the "HTML5" side don't realize that both CSS AND JS are already moving standards, they have no versions, just featuresets.
There is no version selection, there is just features. (there was version selection before in JS, but I am pretty sure it has essentially been dropped since nobody uses it and the updates are being built as compatible)
THAT is the way HTML should be going. HTML was rebuilt to be semantically correct markup, it already cleaned up the mess that we were left with for over a decade because of the lax specs from W3C.
XHTML2 would have completely broken compatibility in addition to adding that. That is the wrong way. A mess is better than nothing period. At least you can work with a mess, you can't work with nothing. (unless you are those turbo-wizards who work with databases)

Re:Obligatory XKCD (5, Funny)

slartibartfastatp (613727) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747075)

From the FA:

At home, only having to run one cable to the wall might be nice, and being able to grab some juice from any friend

That would made you lose some friends, and make others quickly.

Re:Obligatory XKCD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747111)

Indeed, Dwedit, xkcd epitomises the leeches who take a well-known idea already succinctly tackled and execute it badly without any recognition of prior efforts (Tanenbaum said it best).

xkcd is in many ways like some representatives of the "intellectual property" industry, but without the claim of property. Or anything intellectual.

Cables double as space heater (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40746827)

How the hell are they going to get 100W through flimsy USB cables and connectors? 5A at 20V is the profile, but that isn't going to happen with standard USB connectors, regardless of cable gauge. Have a fire extinguisher ready for the inevitable burning laptop when the contact resistance is a couple of Ohm.

Re:Cables double as space heater (5, Informative)

gigaherz (2653757) | more than 2 years ago | (#40746847)

From he article: The high power charging will require special, electronically detectable and very clever “USB Power Delivery” certified cables, which will be backwards compatible with all types of USB 2.0 and 3.0. So yeah, if resistance > X, its not a proper cable and you can't use it for > 4.5W (standard USB3 charging power)

Re:Cables double as space heater (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40746959)

perhaps some sort of copper wire is in order?

Re:Cables double as space heater (2)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 2 years ago | (#40746985)

Great a proprietary cable made for 20c in China with a Monster label slapped on and sold for "naddy-nah-naddy-nah" with a small IC to prevent others making them.

What exactly do they hope to run at 20v DC that will draw 5A? I have a bench power supply that can just about manage that, the only thing i need more than ~15V for is bending the lead of a pencil

Re:Cables double as space heater (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747287)

Checks power supply for laptop. Yup, close to 5A at 20V. That's the use case they're talking about.

Re:Cables double as space heater (2)

Mal-2 (675116) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747309)

All the laptops I have seen in the past few years operate at 19VDC. That's from my dinky Aspire One to my cousin's hefty gaming laptop. 100W won't suffice for the gaming laptop, but that just means he couldn't simultaneously play Skyrim and charge the battery. It should at least be enough to operate the computer itself.

Re:Cables double as space heater (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40746955)

You accidentally swapped amperes and voltages.

Re:Cables double as space heater (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747105)

FTFA: "Profile 5 reaches the full 100W, offering 12V or 20V at 5A."

Re:Cables double as space heater (3)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747239)

You accidentally swapped amperes and voltages.

Amperes and volts, surely? Else current and voltage.

Re:Cables double as space heater (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747327)

The same way they can do 75W over HDMI cable (so TV's that support it would be able to be wall mounted and have power + video/audio sent via one HDMI cable. Not sure if those same cables supported ethernet or not, but the power-over-HDMI may also have been supported on the A/V + Ethernet cables).

I will note I can't remember what the voltage feed is to power the TV's, but I want to say I'd have to imaging the voltage range would be in the same 20v area or less possibly.

Unfortunately... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40746841)

... the High Consortium still was not able to do something with the need to optically inspect the cable and the socket in order to connect them (barrying blind attempts at forcing one to another, whose average number per a successful connection is interesingly substantially greater than the expected 1.5).

Doubtful (4, Informative)

gaelfx (1111115) | more than 2 years ago | (#40746861)

A question remains: will companies like Apple, who have used proprietary chargers and connectors for years despite the prevalence of the USB standard, adopt the new cable?

I can't imagine they will, even with their recent EPEAT flip-flop. What I can't figure out is if they are just trying to keep their products distinct or they don't like it when someone else has a really good idea or what. They've already chosen Thunderbolt as their new adapter of choice, and while they'll never use that for the iFamily of products (since so many people won't/can't buy machines with that connectivity), I can't imagine they'll cave to the USB standard now. I do hope I'm wrong though.

On a side note, does anyone know how many thunderbolt devices are actually available for consumer purchase at this point? Are any of them reasonably priced?

Re:Doubtful (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#40746921)

On a side note, does anyone know how many thunderbolt devices are actually available for consumer purchase at this point? Are any of them reasonably priced?

Currently only consumer-like product I was able to find is a Buffalo 1TB hard drive for about $230. The other Thunderbolt stuff is mostly studio gear: big hard drives, RAID enclosures and A/V interfaces.

Re:Doubtful (3, Informative)

ecotax (303198) | more than 2 years ago | (#40746989)

The new external Apple 27" monitor is thunderbolt too.

Re:Doubtful (4, Informative)

teg (97890) | more than 2 years ago | (#40746929)

A question remains: will companies like Apple, who have used proprietary chargers and connectors for years despite the prevalence of the USB standard, adopt the new cable?

I can't imagine they will, even with their recent EPEAT flip-flop. What I can't figure out is if they are just trying to keep their products distinct or they don't like it when someone else has a really good idea or what. They've already chosen Thunderbolt as their new adapter of choice, and while they'll never use that for the iFamily of products (since so many people won't/can't buy machines with that connectivity), I can't imagine they'll cave to the USB standard now. I do hope I'm wrong though.

Their current connector [wikipedia.org] does a lot more than USB [pinouts.ru] , so probably no.

Re:Doubtful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747179)

How is the ipod dock connector functionality relevant to a new backwards compatible usb standard?

Re:Doubtful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747293)

Expect all of that can move over the USB part of the cable as well just need a slightly smarter peripheral on the other end, so again Apple is doing something completely pointless. But then again this is Apple and they don't like other people having ideas. Maybe they should adopt this slogan: "All your ideas are belong to us."

Re:Doubtful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40746939)

The Sony Power Media Dock is good value for money. Pity Apple didn't make a thunderbolt dock for their power users like Sony did, they could have left the expensive battery sucking video card out of their pro laptops.

Re:Doubtful (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747345)

On a side note, does anyone know how many thunderbolt devices are actually available for consumer purchase at this point? Are any of them reasonably priced?

Just about any monitor with a DisplayPort input is usable with Thunderbolt. They shouldn't need anything approaching the 10.2GBit that the port is supposedly capable of, though.

Re:Doubtful (1)

theNetImp (190602) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747391)

I personally hope apple doesn't change to a USB charger for their laptops. The magnet based cords have prevented a number of accidental laptop floor crashes.

Re:Doubtful (1)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747411)

I don't own iPhone, but it should comply with EU ruling, that all phones use standard micro-USB charger, or am I missing something?

Re:Doubtful (1)

TheGatesofBill (637809) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747443)

You do realize that all the latest Macs have USB3.0, right?

Re:Doubtful (3, Informative)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747455)

Apple signed a memorandum of understanding along with other manufacturers with the EU to ensure their phone devices can be charged from a USB charger through micro USB. Did they include a micro USB port in the 4S? Of course not. They produced an £8 dongle for their device which ensures practically nobody would bother with it and stuck with their existing proprietary dock. At least for the time being their devices will charge through USB with a proprietary cable.

I think even as it stands they run the risk of pissing off the EU so much they'll get sanctioned in some way. If they move even further away from their MoU such as by dumping USB entirely they'll definitely be in trouble. It's also likely that that the EU would be desirous of getting tablets and perhaps even laptops to agree to a common external power supply format so that the problem with phones doesn't happen again somewhere else. I'm sure if they do that Apple will try their best to subvert the process again.

Stupid, stupid, *stupid* (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40746873)

Please tell me about not getting an electric shock every time you touch a USB connector...
They're not designed for 100W. At all.

And no, only an idiot charges his phone off of his laptop. The inefficiency of doing this is so ridiculous, words can't express the fail. So I'm showing you this instead. [shoppingcartdisco.com]

Re:Stupid, stupid, *stupid* (4, Funny)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40746905)

I charge my phone via my desktop, and sometimes my laptop only when the latter itself is plugged in, not while it's operating on battery.

But I agree w/ you. These cables ain't designed for 1kW at all, and what's more, what are they going to do about the fact that all countries have different voltage and frequency standards - 110V/50Hz in the US, 220V/60Hz in EU and so on? What's wrong w/ using current cables?

And speaking of which, we've already seen the mini-USB connector get deprecated. Can the USB committee resist the temptation to introduce a new connector standard every few years, which renders old connectors or cables incompatible? And this in a standard that now supports 4 operating speeds - low speed, full speed, hi-speed and now 'super-speed' (which moron thought up that last name?)

Re:Stupid, stupid, *stupid* (1)

dokc (1562391) | more than 2 years ago | (#40746957)

And this in a standard that now supports 4 operating speeds - low speed, full speed, hi-speed and now 'super-speed' (which moron thought up that last name?)

What will be the 5th operating speed? Über-speed?

Re:Stupid, stupid, *stupid* (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747045)

Ridiculous Speed. Next one will be Ludicrous Speed. Don't you know anything?

Re:Stupid, stupid, *stupid* (3, Funny)

gaelfx (1111115) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747175)

Don't forget plaid. I can't wait til we get USBs with plaid speeds!

Re:Stupid, stupid, *stupid* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40746963)

100W != 1kW

The new cables will be designed for 100W, and if it's going to be backwards compatible, it's going to need a method of testing the cable resistance built in. Discovering whether the cable is an old one and lowering the current accordingly isn't going to be difficult.

Also, don't plug your USB cable directly into mains electricity. The idea is to have a standard wall-socket-to-usb3 transformer that you can use to charge pretty much anything.

Re:Stupid, stupid, *stupid* (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747177)

Yeah, shouldn't it just be able to pump a current over the cable of known voltage and monitor the voltage drop at the other end to detect the cable's resistance? Any power that you pump in that's not coming out on the other side is heat. So you know how much your cable is heating. Assume a worst case scenario of a short cable (high heating per unit length), the thermal limits of the lowest-temperature insulation used in USB cables, and add in a safety factor based on the assumption of a cruddy cable with uneven heating... I'd think that'd be a pretty reliable approach, no?

Heck, you might be able to do better than that. If you have *very* precise pulse timing, you can figure out cable length, and thus unit resistance. I bet a clever electrical engineering student could come up with a way to measure the resistance of the cable independent of cable length using variable frequency AC, too. A capacitance test should let you figure out how much copper you're dealing with, and thus you can compare resistance to capacitance to get the cable diameter. There should be a number of ways to probe it.

Re:Stupid, stupid, *stupid* (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40746995)

They aren't designed for 1kW or line voltage, they're designed for 100W, which according to the article will be delivered at a maximum of 5A, 20V, charging in this mode will require a cable rated for this amount of current.
Are you living in the 90's? Switcher power supplies nowadays accept a wide range of current inputs at a wide range of frequencies, this isn't a serious issue anymore.
Mini-usb had its problems that manufacturers complained about regarding durability and size, so they listened to the complaints and offered their improved version in micro-usb. Now manufacturers are saying they want to use the usb to charge devices and they need more power, and have been running more current than standard through the usb connectors. So in response they're improving the interface to allow more current for faster charging. I feel that the current pace in which they roll out new standards isn't terrible.
Offering the different speeds allows for great fowards and backwards compatibility. When you connect two devices they can communicate as fast as the slowest one permits, allowing you to use older hardware with newer hardware.

Re:Stupid, stupid, *stupid* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747229)

100W != 1kW and what does this have to do with different power standards. This is already working well for laptop power supplies.
Different operating speeds make sense given cost constrains on devices.

Re:Stupid, stupid, *stupid* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747295)

These cables ain't designed for 1kW at all

SI wasn't designed for you.

Re:Stupid, stupid, *stupid* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747363)

"According to semiaccurate.com, Profile 1 will feature 2 Amps, delivered at 5 Volts, while Profile 2 will offer 5V@ 2A or 12V@1.5A. Profile 3 can deliver 5V@2A or 12V@3A, and Profile 4 goes up to 20V@3A. Profile 5 reaches the full 100W, offering 12V or 20V at 5A.

The high power charging will require special, electronically detectable and very clever “USB Power Delivery” certified cables, which will be backwards compatible with all types of USB 2.0 and 3.0."

First, you have your Hz's flipped. US is 110v @ 60Hz, EU is 220v @ 50 Hz. And that's no issue as you'll still have a transformer you have to plug the cable into (and most transformers are designed to work just fine with 110 or 220 inputs without requiring you to flip a switch anymore. Just look at your laptop charger and see what it lists as the Input power specs)

Re:Stupid, stupid, *stupid* (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747403)

110V/220V is a non issue nowadays. I live in Argentina (where we use 220V), and most chargers are "100-240V". I haven't seen any chargers that don't support both standards in around ten years... except for the Nintendo DS, which seems to be a unique exception to the rule.

Re:Stupid, stupid, *stupid* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747415)

What annoys me the most about this is that there are 2 levels above "full speed". These are obviously people who thought Spinal Tap was an actual documentary.

Re:Stupid, stupid, *stupid* (1)

theNetImp (190602) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747439)

Uh yes different countries use different AC voltages, but they all convert down to a DC voltage between 0-20VDC depending on manufacturer. What would be in the USB cable would be that DC voltage, not the AC house voltage. The idea is you would have adapter in the house capable of supporting USB3 from whatever your house voltage is to the DC standard, and then you would just plug it in. I personally just want a big DC power supply in the basement and run USB ports all over the house.

Re:Stupid, stupid, *stupid* (4, Informative)

troon (724114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40746949)

You won't get an electric shock touching a conductor at 20V DC, so long as you don't put it on your mouth. The *power* output capability is irrelevant in its ability to shock you.

Re:Stupid, stupid, *stupid* (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747317)

Also a digital cable probably won't deliver much in the way of current unless it has negotiated with the load.

Re:Stupid, stupid, *stupid* (1)

Guybrush_T (980074) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747349)

Hum ... so you mean that touching my car battery + and - which is just 12V DC is not dangerous ? I kinda doubt that.

Re:Stupid, stupid, *stupid* (1)

Skater (41976) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747387)

Read what he said. It's not the voltage, it's the current.

Re:Stupid, stupid, *stupid* (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747385)

I don't get access to any power outlets during the day (since I'm not home most of the day), and at work, I've a laptop and no extra outlets. I've no choice but to charge my phone and tablet through that laptop's USB, no matter how inefficient that is. I can imagine plenty of people in similar situations.

Not Enough. Also, Attack Vector? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40746875)

Ha, my current laptop runs at 20V @ 11A so looks like I won't be running something like this beast on it.

Does anyone else think this could be a future attack vector? If use existing terminology, the charger is the host and the laptop is the client, what negotiation takes place before more advanced signalling occurs other than something to negotiate what power is required? Basically, what's to stop an attacker putting some sort of malware on the charger, either something to exploit a driver or an actual executable payload on mass media?

Re:Not Enough. Also, Attack Vector? (1)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747011)

I think you missed the "up to" before "100W". This is also at 5V, and I have a powered USB hub that puts out 4A (distributed across all 5 ports...) (more than the standard) that I use to charge a bank of Android terminals.

And I'd bet you are absolutely correct about the handshake being an attack vector. Maybe skip on the cheap Chinese USB 3.0 charging hubs.

Re:Not Enough. Also, Attack Vector? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747339)

Ha, my current laptop runs at 20V @ 11A so looks like I won't be running something like this beast on it

That's already 33 W. Now imagine you want to charge your phone over the laptop at the same time. Don't you see the use case?

Re:Not Enough. Also, Attack Vector? (1)

heroid1a (1898046) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747389)

I think this has already happened actually, with Apple charge connectors. I think was really just proof of concept, but interesting none-the-less. I would find the link, but my Googlefu is weak today.

100 watt!!?? (2)

TheInternetGuy (2006682) | more than 2 years ago | (#40746883)

That is just silly talk, my implementation will require at least 1.21 gigawatts

Re:100 watt!!?? (2)

gaelfx (1111115) | more than 2 years ago | (#40746971)

Jiggawhats?

I'm one. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40746885)

how many people don't use their laptop to charge their phone nowadays?

Count me as one. I don't travel with a laptop - just my phone charger if I'm bringing my phone.

The laptop weighs a few pounds and needs its own bag. The phone charger weighs about 4 oz and takes hardly any space. Same for business trips, too. Actually, I'm using my laptop less and less. A smartphone and a tablet is more the enough for me. And the rare occasions that I need to sit down and do a lot of number crunching, I use one of those "archaic soon to be dead" desktops with a nice big screen and ergonomic keyboard and wrist rest and comfy chair.

A lot of wrist and back pain disappeared when I started using the laptop less.

Re:I'm one. (1)

TheInternetGuy (2006682) | more than 2 years ago | (#40746915)

Does this mean, we will be able to charge our laptops from our phones??? :D

Re:I'm one. (3, Funny)

gaelfx (1111115) | more than 2 years ago | (#40746987)

Get the new Asus Transformer Nexus Optimus Prime! It doubles as both a laptop and a bicycle and when you're not doing those things you can fold it up to fit in your pocket and play mini-discs on it! Only $2,999.95*

*Taxes and other charges may apply. Asus cannot be held responsible for injuries incurred while using the bicycle function of you Transformer Nexus Optimus Prime.

Stop creating new USB connector shapes.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40746899)

how bout that for environmental?

Re:Stop creating new USB connector shapes.... (1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40746975)

How about you read the article, it IS the same shape and stop wasting commenting space?

Re:Stop creating new USB connector shapes.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747071)

the first model will be, then they will begin to roll out new shapes. Your naive low-intelligence approach to the slashdot comments section is a reflection of the "snappy one liner trumps actual debate" sort of stupidity we've been seeing around here since Digg went titsup and all their moronic users fled, some to slashdot. So please, fuck off back to Digg. Regards.

Re:Stop creating new USB connector shapes.... (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747431)

While the connector is the same, the cable is not (it has some additional requirements to carry 100W), so we'll still need to dump the old microUSB cables we have lying around to get those new ones.

Re:Stop creating new USB connector shapes.... (2)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#40746993)

Actually an really environmental idea would be to have standard batteries and power supplys for laptops. Then all laptops would come without the AC/DC converter and, you could just reuse the one from your old one. It usually still works and could probably serve the new machine from a technical standpoint. You could have two variants, 50W and 100W, for different categories of laptops.

Re:Stop creating new USB connector shapes.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747131)

More than likely, you will have your apple fanboys try to set the standard for that too, and we will not have removable batteries period.

Capatcha: Poundingcake

Great idea (5, Insightful)

1s44c (552956) | more than 2 years ago | (#40746903)

This would save me from carrying extra junk about and having to find a very specific type of junk when it fails. This is a brilliant idea.

Everyone seems to be bashing this idea, I've no idea why.

Re:Great idea (2)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40746935)

Everyone seems to be bashing this idea, I've no idea why.

It's easier.

Re:Great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747021)

It just doesn't feel right. USB connectors aren't exactly loved. They're always the wrong way up on the first try and they get loose after some use. Then there's the problem of power direction: The laptop can't be the host if it gets power over USB, can it? The host powers the devices, not the other way around. And of course everybody's anticipating problems with power negotiation. If you can't tell from the connector which power profile can be used, you're inevitably going to end up with cables that claim to be capable of 100W transfer but really are just up-labeled. What if things go wrong? 20V should fry every piece of electronics that doesn't expect that kind of voltage.

The whole concept is so different that it would probably be a better idea not to shoehorn it into the USB standard. Instead of adding high power to a set of connectors that were clearly not designed for it, create a standard power connection with an embedded data connection. And for heaven's sake, design it such that the connector can be plugged without first inspecting the socket and the plug to find the right orientation.

Re:Great idea (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747083)

that's why it's bi-directional and it negotiates it per port.
it's a good thing, brings usb more to parity with thunderbolt.

it would be nice to just stick one cable to my laptop when I go home and have it get power from the hub and transfer video, keyboard etc over that one cable too. I know it's possible to do this already but it's hell of a lot nicer when you don't need to buy apple gear.

Re:Great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747101)

The point is that it would be nice if it worked as advertised, most people just expect it not to. It's USB after all.

Re:Great idea (1)

gaelfx (1111115) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747173)

The point is that it would be nice if it worked as advertised, most people just expect it not to. It's USB after all.

But USB 3.0 far surpassses the promises of USB2.0, so as the standards progress, we really do get great performance out of it, but that kind of progress depends a lot on adoption, imo. If this starts getting adopted, then we can see that kind of performance they're talking about in the not-so-distant future, and probably better further down the line, hence the question at the end of the article, and one that I feel is really important for this type of standard. I would much rather see the new USB3.0 spec succeed and prosper than thunderbolt gaining more adoption.

Re:Great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747227)

USB connectors aren't exactly loved. They're always the wrong way up on the first try

My guiding rule is that the USB logo on the plug should either be facing up or to the left, depending upon socket orientation.

The main problem I have is that they fit exactly into the width of an Ethernet port, which is often a problem when reaching-around to the back of a computer.

Re:Great idea (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747333)

Also USB cables fit nicely into 9 pin D RS232 connectors. My wife found that one and wanted to know why her mouse wasn't working.

Re:Great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747047)

I enjoy carrying my junk around, you insensitive clod!

Best of all (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747323)

Is reading the idiot comments above from people who seem to think they are going to put AC power through USB, or that some magical kind of cable is needed to carry a mere 5A, or who don't seem to realise that quite thin laptop cables already have this capacity and have small connectors, or indeed that the cable doesn't need any kind of protocol to identify itself - a simple handshake based on the voltage drop down the cable would do the job. Especially when they describe the proposal as "stupid".

Of course, here in Europe we expect all mobile phones other than Apple to use the same connector, and we expect that any phone charger will work with almost any phone (just a few very small chargers won't charge large phones at reasonable speed). Despite the restriction on our freedom to have lots of incompatible chargers, we seem to get by. This is an obvious step forward.

Is that a USB cable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40746923)

Nope it's a power cable - ZAP!
Power cables should in fact look like POWER cable. Power has no business disguising itself as USB especially at home!

Power or USB? (-1, Flamebait)

SlashDev (627697) | more than 2 years ago | (#40746933)

Nope it's a power cable - ZAP! Power cables should in fact look like POWER cable. Power has no business disguising itself as USB especially at home!

Re:Power or USB? (1)

BeardedChimp (1416531) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747053)

I haven't read the spec, but if it's anything like usb 1/2 it won't output 100w straight away. It will negotiate with the device and the device can request up to 100w.

Try reading TFA (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747353)

It isn't a power cable, it is SELV (safety extra low voltage). If you want to comment on power distribution standards without looking like an idiot, try doing a little research. You will have great difficulty getting any kind of "zap" from 20V at 5A with the built-in short circuit and overload protection built into modern DC/DC converters.

AIN'T GODDA HAPPEN !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40746983)

Pie in the sky dream !! Ain't no way no 20+ AMPS is godda run down your USB !! Ain't godda in a gadadavida !!

Stupid (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747029)

From TFS: how many people don't use their laptop to charge their phone nowadays?).

Well, anyone who would rather charge their phone quicker directly from the mains, for a start.

Also, once you're carrying a laptop and transformer around anyway, the extra weight and bulk of a small phone charger is irrelevant

Re:Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747183)

i use my samsung netbook to charge my phone from the netbook's battery, it very handily, let me draw power from one of its USB sockets while the netbook is asleep.

NB - my phone charges just as quickly from a laptop/desktop via USB as they output exactly the same voltage and current as the USB wall-wart that came with the phone.

PS - I use the USB wall-wart that came with my phone to power my raspberry pi.

Re:Stupid (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747449)

It charges at the same speed from a wall wart as it does from a computer.... I usually don't need to charge my phone during the day, and can simply plug it into the wall at night. But if I'm tethering data from the cell phone with my laptop, I'll plug the phone into the laptop and let it draw power from there.

Other than that, though, my desktop at work has a USB port and I can plug into that directly. I plug into the wall wart at home. And if I'm on a road trip/using the GPS, I'll plug it into the USB port in my car. By and large I just don't need to charge it from the laptop.

Legislation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747035)

What we need is legislation. Like micro USB charging for new mobile phones, that essentially does away with 99% with the forced "variety" mobile phone makers push on customers.

After all, they don't want you using your old phone's charger with your new phone.

So, at least country-wide we have a standard electrical socket. Instead of messing with USB power, eSATA power etc why not have a standard input socket on laptops that is open and non proprietary?

Standard output socket - transformer/converter - standard input

If at least on a country level we can have standard out & standard in sockets, almost any "power brick" in between can be slightly special.

Having said that, we've had standard cables & sockets of so many different types over the years that it's fair to say we'll probably never manage to have this glorified, magical one standard to rule them all...UNLESS we force it by law.

Re:Legislation (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747093)

i thought microusb was already law - in Europe at least.

my last 2 phones (purchased outside EU) have used that, a sony Ericsson and a Motorola.

Re:Legislation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747167)

Yes, so we need legislation of a similar nature but on open standards for common devices such as laptops etc.That was the point.

Re:Legislation (1)

gaelfx (1111115) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747199)

What I wonder is whether or not those phones that conform to microUSB standard still ship with cables or not though? I'm not in Europe, so I don't know, but I have such a hard time imagining a package with just a phone and battery in it. Please tell me it's thus in the great lands of Europe

Re:Legislation (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747241)

mine came with a wall socket plug and a usb cable.

Re:Legislation (2)

BillyGee (981263) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747253)

It's thus. At least the 4 different devices our family has bought in the last two years have all come with a USB-microUSB cable and a wall charger with no cord but a USB socket.

Re:Legislation (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747341)

But not the iphone.

Re:Legislation (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747383)

"Think Different"

PD suffix to both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747145)

semiaccurate.com [semiaccurate.com] has a lot more information. Not just the USB 3.0 group, but the USB 2.0 group as well has adopted this approved this "power delivery" spec. There are USB 2.0 PD and USB 3.0 PD icons shown in the link. So it looks to me like instead of USB 3.1 and USB 2.1, with or without PD will continue to be an option so they'll probably be known as USB 2.0 PD and USB 3.0 PD.

Also, USB 3.0 by itself has increased power availability: 900mA instead of the USB 2.0 500mA. This alone obviates the need for dual USB connectors to power an external 2.5" hard drive.

Re:PD suffix to both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 (1)

gaelfx (1111115) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747243)

...When you unplug the laptop, the laptop can signal the device to either stop pulling power, take less power, more if that is the intent, or somewhat counter-intuitively, pull power from the device it was just charging.

It's funny that they say that last one is counter-intuitive: USB battery pack anyone? Good for any device with USB3.0 PD, sounds like a winner to me.

Douglas Adams would be happy. (1)

FilthCatcher (531259) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747147)

Quite some time ago, Douglas Adams "declared war" on "little dongly things"

His article is worth reading [douglasadams.com]

Re:Douglas Adams would be happy. (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747451)

Sadly the little dongly things won that war.

100 W is enough ? (1)

superzerg (1523387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747275)

When I saw 100W I thought : "cool if they went for such a power it should be to enable to power my laptop". Then I looked at the power at the exit of the adapter : 19V 4.74A : almost 100W. And it is from last year with "only" 2 cores, so I doubt if will be enough in a few years. Why didn't they took an confortable margin like 200W, so if the standart succed, we wont have the same kind of odd stuff such like puting 2 usb to power my laptop (like for some hard drive like with USB 2.0) ? Otherwise I like the idea, hoping it will not loose part of his relevance with : standart USB 3.0 PD, micro USB 3.0 PD, mini USB 3.0 PD, ? USB3 PD (used only for printers and scanner).

Re:100 W is enough ? (1)

Mal-2 (675116) | more than 2 years ago | (#40747367)

Your power brick is designed to be able to run the laptop at full power and still charge the battery at the same time. If you accepted charging the battery only when the laptop isn't drawing max power, you could get away with considerably less.

USB has a long way to go, hoo boy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747277)

and will remain incomplete until this HIGH SPEED COMMUNICATION BUS not only includes delivery of megawatt power, but also contains virtual pipelines for natural gas, fresh drinking water, bidirectional grey water (so communities can take charge of water use), and sewage outflow. The USB2.0 legacy devices can be easily retrofitted for the 4-inch sewer mains that are standard, but USB3.0 should support 6-inch mains because more people will be "computing on the go as they go".

In addition to the basic proposals that merge these basic utilities into this HIGH SPEED COMMUNICATIONS BUS, there are also plans to include a transaction-based medical dispensary, a bidirectional auto-typed blood plasma conduit certain to revolutionize blood banks and dialysis methods, and the Small Product Packet Service which will enable a new generation of plug-and-play vending machines, such as condoms and playing card pips and raisin dispensers shaped like bunny rabbits.

Steampunk hackers have successfully lobbied to include a pneumatic tube object delivery system along with next-generation speaking tube technology, where the simple expedient of ornately decorated brass tubes will deliver voice, data, video -- and lunch!

It's all happening here at U.S.B., folks -- all these vital technologies in one HIGH SPEED COMMUNICATIONS BUS!

"We put people on the moon... our ancestors coaxed termites out of the mound with cylindrical sticks... but we cannot make a damned computer plug that fits no matter which way you put it in?!??"

Sorry, the round plug that fits in any-which-way did not make the spec. Can't have everything.

Not for Quad-Core, not even mobile quad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40747355)

Sounds nice for average or light-weight notebooks.

My current Thinkpad 520W with quad-core i7-2820QM came with a 170W adapter, and a pretty bulky, heavy one.
I don't expect any such machine become compatible. You'll have to set your priorities.

... or would TWO such USB3-cables do the job??

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