Based on its work for the office furniture industry, Simms Electronics sees many new applications for the USB-C cable systems that may soon become the standard connector for data and to charge tablets, laptops and cell phones.
After months of soft introduction to the marketplace, the USB-C cable is accelerating as the new standard connection for Universal Serial Bus (USB) compatible devices by companies including Apple, Google, LG and HTC.
The switch to USB-C cables – which have a reversible, oval port as opposed to the one-way, rectangular port of USB-A cables – is adding up to more work for Simms Electronics as it incorporates the standard into office furniture equipment, accessories and peripherals. The USB-C cables enable faster data transfer and faster charging times for tablets, laptops and some cell phones.
“We see docking stations for office furniture -- the hubs where you connect to ethernet, display and power -- as going away with USB-C,” Simms Electronics President Matt Simms said. “For instance, we have used USB-C ports to provide up to 60 watts of power, and we are told it can go as high as 100 watts. And USB-C cables can be used for running your display or you can even stream audio from it.” He added that smart cables are being introduced into the market that can sense the amount of power that they can safely draw from a USB-C cable configuration.
Industry observers conclude that it may take a year or two before USB-C ports are common in the most popular electronic products, but design work has to begin now because of the lead time required in electronics hardware manufacturing. Some of the products that use USB-C now include Apple MacBook, Apple TV, Google Chromebook, HP Envy and Pavilion laptops, LG G5, Nexus 6P and 5X, Microsoft Lumina 950 and OnePlus 2. Tier one companies in the industry are supporting the change to USB-C cable from MicroUSB, MiniUSB and USB-A cables.
“It is causing a bit of havoc in the electronics industry because it is adding another layer of complexity,” Simms said. “But we can see it replacing the all the different cables and adapters with one system.”