Items tagged with USB

Thunderbolt (and its Thunderbolt 2 successor) is a technically impressive high-speed data standard. Thunderbolt offers maximum bandwidth of 10Gbps while, Thunderbolt 2 doubled that to 20Gbps. However, the standard, which is used for everything from hyper-fast external storage solutions to external graphics cards, has been slow to take off. You can blame the high-priced Thunderbolt peripherals and the uber-expensive cables (at last when compared to your garden variety USB cables). For most people, USB 3.0 is “good enough” and making a huge investment into the Thunderbolt ecosystem has been reserved... Read more...
When they first came out, solid state drives were cost prohibitive for many people and they remained that way until NAND flash memory prices came crashing down like the careers of every actor on "The Celebrity Apprentice." Now not only are SSDs affordable, they're comparatively capacious and much faster than many of the older models, and as a result they've barged into the mainstream market -- that laptop your Aunt Ethel bought from Best Buy could be rocking an SSD. Save for when massive amounts of cheap storage space is needed, SSDs have effectively (and finally) begun to replace HDDs, which is... Read more...
MHL connectors have enabled advanced smartphones to both receive a charge as well as transmit 1080p video through the same USB cable for some time now, but as ever, technological progress is pushing things a bit more. This week, MHL has developed an Alternate Mode for the USB Type-C specification, which enables it to support 4K video, multi-channel surround sound audio, HDCP 2.2 and is backward compatible with existing versions of the MHL specification. “The USB Type-C cable and connector is designed to be a long-lasting, robust solution that is ideal for all platforms and devices,”... Read more...
In the summer, we learned of a severe issue that plagues a countless number of USB devices, tying into an exploit later called "BadUSB". Thanks to the efforts of Karsten Nohl, chief scientist at SR Labs, it was exposed that the firmware on many USB devices could easily be reprogrammed; the level of security on them turns out to be minimal, or non-existent. Firmware is effectively the brain of a USB device, so if it can be reprogrammed, it doesn't take much imagination to understand what could happen. While Nohl has an exploit that demonstrates the issue, he's refused to release it to the public,... Read more...
Another day, another report of a potential hack that could cause some real trouble. Researchers at Berlin's SR Labs have discovered that firmware can be rewritten on any sort of USB device, be it a keyboard, a mouse, or a flash drive, and exploits could involve logging keystrokes, eavesdropping on communications, and a virus favorite, destroying data. What's concerning about all of this is that SR Labs says that such an implementation would be invisible to anti-malware and anti-virus tools, as those don't scan at such a low-level - this firmware would be also helping the device function, after... Read more...
A recent death that may have been caused by a faulty USB charger has prompted Australia's Fair Trading Commissioner, Rod Stowe, to issue a warning to consumers about the potentially fatal risk of using non-compliant or otherwise unapproved USB style charges. These are typically cheap knock-offs that can find at discounted sites and on eBay. They can also be found in local stores. Stowe said that Fair Trading investigators recently removed a bunch of unapproved and non-compliant USB chargers, travel adapters, and power boards at a mobile phone accessory shop at a Campsie area. The person running... Read more...
Apple has worked hard to deliver synchronized data across all of your iDevices with iCloud, but for those who aren’t so keen on trusting the cloud with their data, there’s a device coming called the iStick that allows you to transfer files locally. Yes, it’s a USB flash drive (nothing interesting there)--however, it also has an integrated Lightning connector (ah, there we go). iStick HYPER (by Sanho), the company behind the iStick, says that it’s currently the only USB flash drive with Apple’s proprietary connector, and it works with iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch... Read more...
It's tough to say when, or if, the heralded USB port will ever be truly replaced in the eyes of the masses. But Thunderbolt is sure working towards becoming a great secondary option, if not an outright replacement in time. At this year's NAB Show in Las Vegas, Intel announced Thunderbolt 2. It's the latest edition of the high-speed transfer protocol, with a bandwidth boost up to 20Gbps. Moreover, there's the addition of Thunderbolt Networking, which effectively acts as a crossover cable in order to allow two computers to directly connect and share information over a high-speed superhighway. Thunderbolt... Read more...
Great news for those waiting for the tried-and-true USB connector to follow the path of Apple's thinner, smaller lightning connector... at least in terms of overall size. While mini-USB and micro-USB are certainly tiny by most definitions, they're still a little chunky when seen on some of the world's slimmest phones and tablets. In order to keep progress marching on, the USB 3.0 Promoter Group has announced that a next-generation plug is in development. The USB Type-C connector will be compatible with USB 3.x and 2.x technologies, but the most important part is this: it'll be both smaller than... Read more...
Yep, a USB condom. That term is mostly a dose of marketing brilliance, which is to say that grabs your attention while also serving as an apt description of the product. A little company called int3.cc has developed a product—a USB condom—that blocks the data pins in your USB device while leaving the power pins free. Thus, any time you need to plug a device such as a smartphones into a USB port to charge it—let’s say at a public charging kiosk or a coworker’s computer--you don’t have to worry about compromising any data or contracting some nasty malware.... Read more...
Apple is certainly no stranger to dealing with counterfeit goods. In fact, entire counterfeit Apple stores have emerged in certain parts of Asia. It's easy to be a cynic and suggest that Apple simply overcharges for certain first-party accessories and cables, but then there's a story like this to bring it all into focus. Apple is currently investigating a situation where an individual was electrocuted (and subsequently died) when answering a plugged-in iPhone. It's unclear if the charger they were using was a spoof, but Apple's not taking any chances. The USB Power Adapter Takeback Program has... Read more...
Things are about to get faster. The USB Promoter Group announced that it has completed the USB 3.1 specification, which will enable SuperSpeed USB performance of 10Gbps. This, of course, rivals Intel and Apple’s blazing fast 10Gbps Thunderbolt interface, and the new USB connection will make use of more efficient data encoding, and it will be compatible with earlier USB specifications (USB 3.0 and 2.0). USB 3.1 will offer double the effective data throughput of current SuperSpeed USB offerings. Developers will be able to learn technical details of the new spec this summer and... Read more...
While it's obvious that innovation is on the fast-track when looking at consumer electronics as a whole, one has to wonder how long it'll take for the USB port to do more than it does. Perhaps that time has come. Texas Instruments has issued a new single-chip DockPort solution that enables DisplayPort, USB and power over a single cable. Talk about high efficiency. The HD3SS2521 delivers audio/video (A/V), USB data and power over a single cable between a notebook, ultrabook or tablet PC and a docking station or dongle.  The HD3SS2521 enables system designers to create smaller, more affordable... Read more...
Logitech is going for a certain look and feel with its Z600 Bluetooth stereo speakers, which is to say that it’s trying for a sleek, high-end-looking product that matches the luster of ultrabooks. (Especially MacBooks, it would seem.) The twin speakers are quite fetching, with graceful curves and a long, tall stance. They’re sort of an aluminum-white in color, with speaker grills covering most of the outside and a white stripe down one side that contains the power button, Bluetooth button, and 3.5mm input. The flat top offers a volume control that you can manipulate by gliding your... Read more...
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