JUST WHEN you thought USB couldn't get any more complicated, along comes USB 3.2.
USB 3.2 isn't a new plug/socket, it's a new standard for data transfer over USB-C. And at that point, we'd probably better take a step back.
USB-C is the latest version of USB hardware that launched as a replacement for USB-A and microUSB (the ones you use the most). There's also loads of other standards and the idea was that this is the one that will eventually unite them all.
Now, USB-C can carry a lot. It can carry power enough to actually charge a laptop by itself, something its predecessors could never do, and it can also carry data in the form required by a number of existing standards including Thunderbolt (Apple), Displayport, HDMI, as well as USB 3.1, the official data transfer standard for USB-C.
Still with us? Good. We're surprised.
Now, when USB 3.1 arrived over USB-C, aside from the well-documented problems with power delivery from shonkily and ignorantly designed cables, there was the issue that USB 3.1 gen.1 ran at the same speed as USB 3.0 - the old style of full-size USB-A cable with the blue lip.
Then, later, USB 3.1 gen.2 arrived, which doubled the speed on compatible hardware, (including compatible cables, something manufacturers are not making at all clear), of course.
At this point, let's raise two issues. The first is that we're over 200 words into this news story and we've had to spend it all on background so we can get to the point. The second issue is that the "U" in "USB" is supposed to stand for "Universal", which is laughable.
Prepare, then friends, to go ha-ha-bonk as you laugh your head off at the arrival of USB 3.2, a new version of USB 3.x that offers "multi-lane" traffic - meaning you can have more going on at the same time.
The new standard was announced yesterday by the USB 3.0 Promoter Group, a team of organisations that boasts some of the biggest names in tech, but when it comes to organising how to plug in a disc drive reliably, seems to have all the effectiveness of a blue bottle trying to get out of an open window.
So that's all-new USB 3.2 - compatible with your existing USB-C hardware, but completely unfinalised spec-wise and completely muddying an already totally borked roll-out of that which was supposed to be "the one plug".
There's a conference of members of the USB group in September. It's widely expected to be held in some sort of beer fermenting plant, but it's unclear yet who will be providing the alcohol.
The standard will most likely be finalised in December, just after Black Friday and Christmas, when most people will have bought their newly obsolete tech. µ
A surprisingly busy week in a quiet month
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