While the world awaits the full-scale arrival of USB-4, an update to USB-C should begin hitting devices as early as this year.
According to the UBS Implementers Forum (USB-IF), UBS-C 2.1 will be a beefed-up update to the current Type-C paradigm that will support Extended Power Range (EPR) to power larger monitors, dual device charging, and power-hungry hubs.
By the second half of 2021, devices will ship with the updated standard and while the port and connector themselves remain relatively unchanged, cables attached to USB-C 2.1 will sport a specific icon identifying its 240W throughput.
As USB-C 2.1 gets rolled out, the current Type-C standard which pushes 100W will be replaced by ERP’s and a new lower-powered 60W max standard called “Standard Power Range” will be introduced.
The introduction of ERPs may seem to initially complicated things in the connected-cable world but in actuality, this should ease the guessing game of whether a USB-C cable is a power or data transfer type. Now buyers and sellers can clearly specify the output of the new standards as well as identifying them through iconography on the cables.
As manufacturers move away from USB-A, HDMI, and SD cards slots, it’ll be interesting to see how they maneuver a new sea of port options that look identical but include ERPs, SPRs and Thunderbolt 4.