In their recent attempt to make the USB-C standard less confusing, the USB-IF group has unveiled a new set of logos that companies can put on their certified USB4 and 240W cables. And while we’re happy that USB-C cables are more recognizable, those logos are a bit … um, they’re not very intuitive.
Let’s start with some praise. These logos clearly indicate whether a USB-C cable supports high-speed data transfer, high-speed charging, or both. Customers looking for a cable with these characteristics can look at the packaging of a product, find the big red logo, and say, “Okay, this is what I’m looking for.”
I’m also pleased that the USB-IF is encouraging manufacturers to put these labels on their USB-C cables, not just the packaging. It makes quality cables easier to spot if they’re tucked away in a drawer or strewn on the floor with a bunch of shitty cables.
But these logos don’t offer much context. Average buyers may fail to understand that an expensive 240 watt cable is about a hundred times faster than what their smartphone needs, so they may overpay in the name of speed. And since charging and data transfer standards are not interconnected, customers may not realize that their “certified USB 240 watt” cable cannot transfer data at USB4 speeds.
Manufacturers also sell USB-C cables with all possible charging and data transfer speeds. However, these logos only indicate whether a cable complies with the 40 Gbps, 20 Gbps, 240 watts, or 60 watts standards. Part of me supports this decision because it’s nice and easy, but it forces manufacturers to print their cables’ charging and data transfer speeds in big red letters no matter what standard they fit seems to be a solution that gives buyers at least some context.
While I’m not entirely satisfied with the new USB-IF logos, they are still a nice addition that could help some customers navigate the confusing world of USB-C. We should see this as a win because, let’s face it, USB-C is so broken and confusing that even the experts seem a little confused about how it works.
Source: USB-IF via The Verge
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