Gadget geek or otherwise, you’re probably beginning to hear more about the USB Type-C™ standard, the next generation in the specification for Universal Serial Bus connectors, ports and cables. With this new specification, USB connectors are going to be even easier to use, support higher-power charging, and transfer data at rates of up to 40Gbps, 80 times faster than the previous version of the standard, which is enough to support 4K video.
The higher data rates opens up the potential for USB connectors to support a host of new applications beyond mobile phones and computers where USB is pretty much ubiquitous for charging and connecting devices. You can imagine USB replacing HDMI, DisplayPort and other high-speed ports, for example, or being used in quick charging power adapters, as designers find new ways to simplify their designs, not to mention the user experience, by adopting a single type of port and connector. Event better, USB Type-C connectors and ports are uniform in size and form factor, which means either end of a cable, and either side of a connector, will work when making a connection.
While the ultimate goal behind USB for the consumer is ‘one size, one end, fits all’, that’s not the case from the point of view of designers. Being given a ‘one size fits all’ approach for implementing USB Type-C capabilities can present obstacles in terms of meeting their design’s small footprint and low power consumption requirements.
At Fairchild, we stepped back and considered many of the possible implementations of USB Type-C from both a systems and hardware standpoint, and realized we could ease system complexity, reduce our power profile and decrease size by not integrating a microprocessor, or assuming every design would require power delivery.
From there, we set about to develop a portfolio of controllers and switches that would offer a variety of solutions for implementing USB Type-C designs with the smallest footprint and lowest power consumption.
We recently announced that LeTV was shipping the world’s first USB Type-C enabled smartphone using Fairchild’s solution. Elsewhere, Apple’s latest MacBook includes a USB Type-C data port, Google includes a USB Type-C interface in its latest Chromebook, while several other vendors including Samsung, Seagate, Toshiba, Western Digital, and SanDisk among others are incorporating the new standard in their latest products.
Fairchild controllers perform the detection of attachment and orientation as well as facilitating communication changes in charging levels during operation. They each can be configured to support Dual Role Port, Down Facing Port, and Up Facing Port (DRP, DFP, UFP) modes so they can be used in any application. While Fairchild’s devices provide the smallest footprint and thinnest profile, they are also offered in larger pitch packaging for power adapter, PC applications, and other products with larger pitch boards.
An I2C interface is used to communicate with the application’s host processor, which means designers have complete control over customization and choices around microprocessor decisions. They can reuse existing system architectures, and easily make updates as the new specification evolves. On the switching side, we enable designers to implement USB 3.1 SuperSpeed switching on any current USB platform or any USB platform transitioning to USB Type-C, while consuming minimal power.
At the end of the day, Fairchild’s USB Type-C solutions will enable designers to build systems that preserve battery life, conserve board space, minimize impact to the overall system design and make it easier for consumers to connect and charge their gadgets. To learn more about our USB Type-C portfolio, including technical details and how to order, please click here.
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