SuperSpeed ​​USB branding meets its demise, but may still appear on some products

Just tell us the supported data rate and wattage, already


USB is somehow both the easiest thing in the world, streamlining the way we charge our devices, transfer data and connect accessories, but also an impenetrable mess of impenetrable standards – who knows if you’ll need a new cable to charge your phone at full speed? Fortunately, the powers that be (the USB Implementers Forum, or USB-IF) aren’t indifferent to our fate, and after last year’s efforts to clean up power logos, the group’s rebranding effort seeks now to simplify the nomenclature for the SuperSpeed ​​and USB4 standards.

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Speaking to The Verge, USB-IF President and COO Jeff Ravencraft explains that studies have found that consumers don’t quite understand what the basic USB brand means, let alone the more advanced features that can be supported. One that hasn’t proven to be very helpful is the SuperSpeed ​​brand – which doesn’t even immediately communicate what data speeds it supports, or charging power. In order to avoid confusing brands like USB4 Gen3x2 and USB4 Version 2.0, the group instead wants to put data transfer speed and power (if applicable) at the forefront.

The big changes you’ll notice as a result of this rebranding are the discontinuation of SuperSpeed ​​and the simplification of USB4 to USB-only. Legacy brands USB 1.0 and USB 2.0 (now called Hi-Speed ​​USB) are unaffected – you won’t see the latter move to USB 480Mbps, as USB-IF rightly fears customers will equate the numerical value the higher at a faster data transfer speed, completely ignoring the difference between MB and GB.

For USB-C cables used to transfer power and data, the maximum power rating will now be added to the USB mark. Products certified before this change can continue to use the old mark, and while manufacturers can breathe a collective sigh of relief, it could only create more confusion for consumers if it takes years for new products really penetrate the market.

Of course, companies aren’t required to undergo USB-IF certification for their products in the first place – although respectable brands do, as they need it to display the USB logo. So while this doesn’t solve all of our USB headaches, it sure does look like a step in the right direction.

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