Let’s face it — you say the words “USB Type-C” to someone and they’re likely to hold up an Android charging cable and look confused, or maybe mention that’s what the new Macbook with one port uses. The new protocol has the ability to run standard USB signals, as well as power over USB, DisplayPort, and Thunderbolt, but how can you tell the difference between ports that are just for data, and ports that charge your laptop? The USB-IF has decided that the way to go is more logos, and hoping that manufacturers use them, according to Ars Technica.
You may have already seen some of the logos that are part of this classification effort. When you see a USB logo next to the port, that indicates a standard 2.0 or slower connection, with the SS replacing the dot on the left side for a 3.0/3.1 port. If the port is capable of 10Gbps transfer speeds, introduced with 3.1 gen 2, the number 10 will appear in the upper right. If the port is also capable of powering or charging the device, a battery will appear behind the logo. These logos can appear alongside other symbols to denote DisplayPort or Thunderbolt as well.
The use of the logos on products and packaging is included in the $4,000 annual licensing fee for manufacturers, but it’s up to the individual companies to decide whether to use the logos. The current method of determining port capabilities is on a case-by-case basis, with different manufacturers using different symbols and colors to denote what that specific port’s connectivity options. Hopefully as we move away from the myriad Micro and Mini USB ports towards the more capable Type-C, brands will get on board the USB-IF’s plan and we’ll see these logos on every device.