The crop of new products at CES show USB-C’s growing adoption. With one major exception, everything from cars and headphones to game controllers and multidevice chargers sports a USB-C connection. (We’re still hoping it’ll come to Apple’s iPhones.) Deeper changes are coming with the standards that govern what USB cables and ports can do. The upgrade from USB 3 to USB 4, now arriving in laptops and other devices, means faster data transfer and docks with multiple USB-C ports. The USB PD (Power Delivery) standard can handle more and more charging needs, now including high-end gaming laptops.
As it gains additional data and charging capabilities, the basic oval port is showing up in an increasing number of products. Finally, thanks to Intel’s Thunderbolt technology, you can put several USB-C devices onto a single hub. This post is part of CNET’s coverage of CES, where we bring you the most up-to-date information on the most astonishing technology on the horizon. A slew of new USB-C accessories on show at CES 2022 suggest that the 7-year-old data-and-charging standard is now reaching its full potential. USB-C and its related standards are now commonplace in laptops, Android phones, and a slew of other devices. The Apple MacBook and Google Chromebooks introduced USB-C in 2015. Its oval connector replaced PCs’ rectangular USB-A connectors and many Android phones’ smaller, trapezoidal USB Micro-B ports.
Here’s a look at some of the new USB-C devices from CES 2022. Where the products are not yet available for sale, we’ve linked to the product information at the manufacturer’s website. The $189 Plugable USB4-HUB3A USB 4 and Thunderbolt 4 hub skips the variety on many hubs and docking stations to concentrate on just USB and Thunderbolt, the closely related connector technology from Intel on which USB 4 is based. One USB-C or Thunderbolt connection on your laptop becomes three on this hub. Plus there’s a USB-A port for your keyboard, thumb drive, or other accessory that’s not part of the modern age. It comes with an external charger of its own that means the USB-C/Thunderbolt ports can supply up to 15W of power to whatever is plugged in, which is useful for external drives and some other accessories.
Hyper’s 4-port Thunderbolt hub handles both power and data duties using either USB-C or Thunderbolt. One port connects to a laptop, supplying up to 96 watts of power — enough for almost any high end laptop. Three other ports connect to other devices and supply up to 15W of power. Unusually, Hyper’s hub has built-in power electronics, so all you need to power it is a cable, not the usual combination of cable and power brick. Hyper didn’t disclose pricing or availability.
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