1. New usb-if regulations are coming soon
After the universal serial bus (USB) has developed to the type-C port specification, it has quickly attacked cities and lands in personal computers, notebook computers and intelligent mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. The industry estimates that with the strong promotion of apple and non apple industry, the market penetration of usbtype-c is expected to reach 15 ~ 20%, and the market penetration of USB type-C will show multiple growth. In order to improve the USB experience, usb-if has begun to formulate new USB specifications in order to accelerate the popularity of USB in various application fields.
In order to improve the better transmission experience of USB type-C, usb-if is also preparing the next Standard Version. Mark Fu, senior marketing director of cypress datacom USB business unit, explained that the next generation of USB type-C specification will improve the charging capacity to 9 volts. In the future, many applications other than personal computers or consumer electronics will be further developed due to the 9V power supply capacity of USB, such as industrial screens and automotive entertainment systems Wait.
In addition, in the power delivery (PD) technology adopted by USB type-C at this stage, the new generation of specifications will also solve the problems of long switching time between power supply and power receiving end, which is easy to cause screen flicker, so as to bring consumers better use experience.
At present, some notebook computers, such as Apple’s 12.1-inch MacBook, Google chromebook pixel… Or smart phones, such as LETV… All leave only one USB type-C port. USB type-C is also being introduced into the automotive and industrial fields. If consumers want to transfer data to other devices for storage or playback, or even charge the device, they only need to purchase a small docking station with built-in HDMI, USB or VGA.
Although USB type-C is gaining momentum, there are still wired and wireless interface technologies ready to replace, such as 802.11ad. Fu said that although Wi Fi 802.11ad or wigig uses the 60GHz band up to 7gbps, which is faster than USB 3.0, the technology lacks the ability of multiplexing and still has technical limitations, so it can not really replace USB type-c.
From the perspective of multiplexing, USB type-C has three functions: data packet transmission, real-time audio-visual transmission and power supply. Among them, the function that can convert the device to the power receiving or power supply end is lacking in the current wireless transmission technology. Fu pointed out that even though there are three major wireless charging standards on the market, including powermatters Alliance (PMA standard), wireless powerconsortium (Qi standard) and Alliance for wireless powe (a4wp standard), the popularity of these wireless charging technology products has not reached a certain degree, and consumers’ mobile devices cannot be charged immediately if they really need to be charged It is convenient to find relevant terminal products for wireless charging, so it is more convenient and safe to use cables for charging.
2. Thunderbolt still competes for the throne with its advantages
Even though the popularity of USB type-C interface is getting higher and higher, thunderbolt will fight with the third-generation standard thunderbolt 3 and provide a better use experience for emerging popular applications.
The thunderbolt 3 standard was launched at the end of 2015 and has been supported by many computer, hard disk, docking station and other manufacturers. Jason Ziller, marketing director of thunderbolt, Intel Customer computing business group, pointed out that thunderbolt 3 supports more interface standards, including DisplayPort, PCI Express and USB, so more devices can be connected. The transmission rate is also increased to 40Gbps, so it can provide image transmission without delay according to the demand for ultra-high image quality images of 4K images or recent popular virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).
Moreover, through the thunderbolt 3, the expansion base can connect high-speed external devices and two 4K screens with only one line, and quickly charge the notebook computer at the same time; External storage hard disk can transfer more than one 4K movie in 10 seconds; For 4K film and virtual reality creators, thunderbolt 3 can shorten working time and workflow.
On the other hand, the thunderbolt transmission line is not as “noble” as before. At present, the market price of thunderbolt transmission line (copper cable) is about $25, which is about the same as that of USB 3.1 type-C transmission line. In the future, with the increase of thunderbolt popularity, the price of transmission cable is bound to continue to decline.
More importantly, thunderbolt 3 has been built into the 7th generation intel core processor, so it can be expected that more than twice as many computer models will be equipped with thunderbolt 3. Ziller stressed that at present, there are more than 60 kinds of personal computers (PCS) on the market, such as 2-in-1, ultra-thin laptop, E-sports laptop, mobile workstation, all in one, motherboard or mini system, all of which have been equipped with thunderbolt 3; The number of peripherals is also growing significantly. In addition to the 20 thunderbolt 3 external peripherals that have been published, 65 products are about to be launched.
Facing the latest MacBook released by Apple last year, only one USB type-C port is reserved, which makes the market wonder whether Apple will abandon Intel thunderbolt? Ziller said that the reason why Apple changed its MacBook to USB type-C port in 2015 was that at that time, the new generation of thunderbolt standard thunderbolt 3 had not been launched, but Apple’s product plan could not be delayed, so the company turned to USB type-c. With the finalization of the thunderbolt 3 standard, it is expected that Apple’s future product series will return to the design of retaining the thunderbolt port.
Ziller also revealed that the cooperation between the two companies in thunderbolt is still quite close, and Apple also participated in the discussion of thunderbolt 3 standard. Therefore, in the face of the market’s doubts about the development of thunderbolt market, Intel still believes that thunderbolt, especially after the launch of the new generation standard, will be favored by apple and more computer and related peripheral industries.
In addition, the power supply capacity of thunderbolt 3 has also been increased to 100 watts (W), which continues the characteristics that thunderbolt can synchronously multiplex video, data packets and power supply in the past. Ziller stressed that the above features of thunderbolt 3 cannot be fully achieved by USB type-C, which is also the reason why Apple or other partners did not fully switch to USB type-c.
3. DisplayPort ensures usbtype-c transmission efficiency
In order to ensure that the USB 3.1 type-C using DisplayPort technology for real-time image transmission has more stable performance in transmitting video and audio data, after the video electronic Standards Association (VESA) proposed the DisplayPort alternative mode (altmode) standard specification in September 2014, in view of the situation that the standard is not finalized but related products are ready to go, Launch the displayportalt mode early certification program for USB type-C devices.
Jim Choate, manager of VESA compliance program, said that the USB 3.1 specification uses DisplayPort to transmit real-time audio and video information. Therefore, through the DisplayPort alt mode specification, the usbtype-c connector and connecting cable will provide complete DisplayPort performance. In addition to the existing functions of USB 3.1, the USB type-C connector and connecting cable can support the display resolution of more than 4K, super speed USB data transmission rate and 100W charging power at the same time.
Although usb-if defines the test specification of USB 3.1, VESA is responsible for the test and certification of DisplayPort technology. Therefore, VESA released the displayportalt mode specification in 2014. Choate explained that although usb-if includes DisplayPort in USB 3.1 test certification specification, it is independent of VESA’s DisplayPort alt mode certification, with only a small overlap. DisplayPort alt mode requires that USB 3.1 needs four channels for DisplayPort to transmit video and audio. In order to ensure that usbtype-c and built-in DisplayPort products can communicate seamlessly, Or when consumers use DisplayPort in USB type-C to play video and audio materials, they can give full play to the efficiency of DisplayPort. Therefore, it is necessary for the manufacturer’s usbtype-c products to be certified by DisplayPort alt mode.
Liu zongqi, senior project manager of keysight, added that if the manufacturer’s USB 3.1 type-C connector only transmits data through USB 3.1, the product needs to pass USB 3.1 certification; On the contrary, if the USB 3.1 type-C connector wants to transmit video and audio data with DisplayPort, it needs to be certified by displayportalt mode.
Usb-if and VESA frequently communicate with each other, and their respective USB and DisplayPort technical standards are often complementary. Therefore, if the USB 3.1 type-C connector supports both USB and DisplayPort standards, both certifications must be performed. In short, usb-if controls USB type-C native architecture; VESA defines how the USB type-C connector and DisplayPort technology work together smoothly to provide consumers with a better use experience.
As for the DisplayPort alt mode early certification plan, it is because the DisplayPort alt mode specification will not be officially finalized until two months later, but the manufacturer’s USB type-C related products are ready to enter the market. Therefore, the DisplayPort alt mode early certification plan is needed to determine the interoperability of early developed products. And accelerate the compliance testing procedures and launch schedule of new products. Choate pointed out that the Intel skylake reference design, Dell and HP tablet devices and notebook computers, LG and ASUS displays, and StarTech docking stations have passed the early certification of displayportalt mode.
4. HDMI strengthens its position with new cable certification specifications
With the advent of monitors, televisions and other products that support 4K ultra-high image quality, the transmission interface standard specification has also begun to be able to transmit 4K images. However, in order to “truly” transmit 4K images, not only the transmission interface technology chip needs to be certified, but also the transmission line must be able to transmit 4K images, so as to provide consumers with the best 4K image viewing experience. In view of this, the high picture quality multimedia interface Association (HDMI licensing) proposed the premium HDMI certification program.
Ma Minglun, marketing and business development manager of HDMI Association, said that when transmitting 4K images, the impact of electromagnetic interference (EMI) will be relatively large. Therefore, in the past, authentication standards were only set at the source and sink ends, and the transmission cable quality was not defined. 4K image transmission may have 4K image quality at the source end, However, the receiving end may be unable to receive 4K images due to cable quality problems. In this way, consumers may question the image quality of 4K image of terminal products, so the transmission line certification specification is very important.
According to the statistics of municipal dispatching units, the shipment of high-definition TV (HD TV) supporting 4K image broadcasting will reach 300 million in 2019. If there is a problem with cable transmission reliability, HDMI version 2.0 will not be able to transmit 4K and 60Hz images. Ma Minglun pointed out that after the launch of the premium HDMI certification program, more than 20 manufacturers have passed the certification, and purchased the certification label from the HDMI Association, which is available in the market.
Through full end-to-end authentication, HDMI association hopes to bring consumers a real full high-quality image experience. Ma Minglun believes that the quality of image transmission can be ensured from the device to the cable, which will enable HDMI technology to consolidate its position and penetration in the consumer electronics market. With the advent of the future 8K image era, the premium HDMI certification program can also assist transmission line manufacturers to further ensure the quality of image transmission.
5. Type-C products have sprung up
In order to meet the huge market opportunities of USB type-C, in addition to cypress, manufacturers such as silicon labs and Texas Instruments (TI) have also launched new products. Peng Zhichang, senior microcontroller (MCU) Marketing Manager in Asia Pacific of core laboratory, said that after the release of PD protocol stacked microcontrollers conforming to usb-if certification, as well as USB 3.1 dongle and hub controllers, the company launched USB type-C reference design to help developers reduce the complexity of developing USB type-C cables and adapters.
The reference design of core lab provides a complete solution for USB to DisplayPort adapter. Developers can quickly design USB type-C cable and adapter at low cost. With the continuous advent of USB type-C related products from chip manufacturers, usbtype-c is expected to accelerate its popularity.
Regardless of the development trend of each wired transmission interface, the status of USB type-C has gradually been unshakable. Fu stressed that in all kinds of transmission interfaces, whether wired or wireless technologies, they are not a substitute relationship, but complement each other. However, in the trend of mobile devices pursuing thin and lightweight appearance, in order to achieve the goal of thin and lightweight, most of the device external ports are reserved, and the USB type-C is the most likely to be reserved. In other words, in the future, USB type-C will become the only transmission interface port of each device, which can be called a unified interface.