USB’s Confusing Names and Numbers Are Being Simplified

Justin Duino / How-To Geek

The USB standard often gets a bad rep because of its overly-confusing labels and brands, but it might be about to get easier very soon. The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) has announced a series of new branding guidelines that should, in theory, make things simpler to read.

As per the new guidelines announced, the USB-IF is dropping most of its older branding, continuing as the culmination of an effort that began last year. For one, the “SuperSpeed” name, which was first used by USB 3.0 when it was released, is no more. And neither is USB 3, USB 3.2, or even USB4, for that matter. Instead, the consumer-facing name will just be “USB” and the exact speed.

USB-IF

Instead of referring to USB ports or devices by a version number, the USB-IF is instead shifting to naming that reflects actual specs, rather than having a confusing version number. This way, SuperSpeed USB 5Gbps, and SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps are now just USB 5Gbps and USB 10Gbps, while USB4 branding is shifting to USB 20Gbps and USB 40Gbps, depending on the actual transfer speeds. If a cable supports a specific charging wattage, they’ll also have to list it.

Basically, if a USB port supports 40Gbps data transfer and 240W charging speeds, it shall be marketed as “USB 40Gbps 240W.” That’s… Still pretty bad, but probably better than USB’s previous system (USB4 Version 2.0, anyone?), since at least the consumer knows what specifications they’ll get.

Expect to start seeing this new scheme within the next few months on new hardware devices. This is very unlikely to serve as an end-all solution to USB’s branding woes, and it has a very real chance of making things worse, but being honest, there’s probably no way to fix that properly at this point.

Source: The Verge