USB-IF Finally Updates Branding So Consumers Know What Speed They're Getting
The USB standard's forward and backward compatibility is one of its handiest features. That means that you can plug a USB device into another USB device with a matching connector, and it's almost a guarantee that it'll work, regardless of their USB version revisions. Consumers don't need to know whether it's a USB 3.1 Gen 2 or a USB 4 Ver 2 port, they just need to know how fast it is. The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) seems to have finally gotten the message; check out the new consumer-facing USB branding for ports:
The new labeling isn't flawless. USB can carry other capabilities that are not reflected by throughput alone. For instance, some USB Type-C ports do not allow DisplayPort Alternate Mode. It's still a huge step up from the old branding that emphasized the USB version. This change comes about due to consumer complaints after the reveal of USB 4 Version 2. USB-IF was quick to explain that consumers won't see "USB 4 Version 2" on their devices due to new upcoming branding, which is what we're showing you today.
USB-IF has also created specialized branding for certified chargers that indicates their power output as well as the presence or absence of fast charging.
There's also new branding for USB Type-C cables that indicates the speed and power delivery capability of the cable. Like any wire that carries electricity, USB cables have to be built to a certain specification to ensure safety when pushing hundreds of watts across the wire. This labeling should help customers select suitable cables for their needs.
USB-IF says that the branding has already come into effect, and that consumers might start seeing products bearing the new USB marks by the end of the year. However, devices certified before the change-over can continue to use the old branding, and furthermore, branding for devices still using the older USB 2 and 1.1 hasn't been updated, so that will hang around for now.
There's still the issue that nothing is preventing shady manufacturers from producing uncertified USB products. You can already find dozens of USB cables on Amazon and Aliexpress that don't carry the proper USB-IF labeling because they aren't certified by USB-IF. Some or most of them might work just fine, but if you want to be sure, buying certified cables should make the process more reliable.