USB Type-C, which is being used with most of the recent smartphones and laptops globally, is getting an upgrade to deliver power of up to 240W. This is a whopping 140 percent more than the maximum capacity of 100W available on the existing USB Type-C. Of course, manufacturers will need to bring some tweaks to the USB Type-C accessories they are bundling to bring more power. However, there won’t be any changes at the interface level. This means that you’ll continue to get the same reversible port on your devices, but with the ability to provide more power.
The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), an industry body that promotes and supports Universal Serial Bus or commonly called USB, has published the revision version 2.1 of the USB Type-C specification, as initially reported by CNET. The new specification update has many similarities with the USB Type-C 2.0 that was released in 2019. However, the revision mentions the new option called Extended Power Range (EPR) will have a maximum voltage of up to 48V to deliver 240W power at 5A.
By carrying the capacity of 240W, the latest USB update could help laptop manufacturers do away with the traditional barrel jacks and offer modern USB Type-C ports for charging as well as data transfer on their devices.
This will not bring any differences on the interface part as consumers will be able to plug any of the USB Type-C 2.1 devices into USB Type-C 2.0 ports. However, the USB-IF has said that ERP-compatible sources and sinks will have to withstand potential electrical arcing during unplug events. EPR cables are also required to “be visibly identified with ERP cable identification items”. This means that there would be certain underlying changes as well as some visual tweaks to differentiate the new experience.
Most of the mainstream laptops nowadays work with USB Power Delivery (PD) protocol that uses USB Type-C interface to deliver up to 100W of power. However, there are gaming laptops and desktops that require more output. This is where the new standard could come in handy.
Details about when we could see devices with the USB Type-C 2.1 are not available at this moment. However, considering how the previous evolutions in the USB family were adopted, some devices with the next-generation standard are likely to emerge soon.