USB-C standards body introduces cable labels to combat customer confusion

1 Oct 2021

Image: © prima91/Stock.adobe.com

The new logo system specifies whether a USB-C cable supports 60W or 240W of power and how fast it can move data.

The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) has published a series of power rating logos for USB-C cables to indicate products’ power transmission and data transfer capabilities.

Earlier this year, the organisation published an update to the power specifications of the USB standard, raising the maximum potential power rating for cables from 100W to 240W, enough to support even powerful laptops.

Future Human

However, this means cables now come in a number of potential configurations of power transmission and data transfer speeds.

The new labels are meant to provide clarity to consumers, highlighting support for 60W or 240W. They can specify both power and file transfer rating, and come in formats for packaging and for direct use on cables or devices.

Image: USB-IF

USB-IF president Jeff Ravencraft said: “With the new higher power capabilities enabled by the [new power specification], which unlocks up to 240W over a USB-C cable and connector, USB-IF saw an opportunity to further strengthen and simplify its certified logo programme for the end user.

“With our updated logos, consumers can easily identify the USB4 performance and USB power delivery capabilities of certified USB-C cables, which support an ever-expanding ecosystem of consumer electronics from laptops and smartphones to displays and chargers.”

USB-IF is a non-profit industry body that publishes standards for and promotes the USB format. It is composed of a number of member companies that use the technology, including Apple, HP, Intel, Microsoft, IBM and Texas Instruments.

The news comes a week after the European Commission announced its intention to mandate standardised charging cables and ports using the USB-C specification.

This move is intended to reduce costs for consumers and the generation of electronic waste. But Apple, which uses its proprietary Lightning cable across its family of devices unlike most of its competitors, has publicly objected to the proposal.

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Jack Kennedy is a freelance journalist based in Dublin

editorial@siliconrepublic.com