Microsoft Seems to Hold Two Patents for Smaller USB-C Connectors

Reports recently came out about Microsoft holding the patent to a thinner, re-designed USB-C connector that doesn’t seem to match USB-C technology that’s currently on the market. What’s perhaps most surprising about this news is the fact that the patent isn’t new by any means, yet it’s only making headlines as of this week.

Microsoft apparently first filed for some form of patent in April 2017, which described a new receptacle jack for USB-C plugs. Another filing one month later was for something that the application called an Ultra-Thin USB-C Connector.

This patent application has also come to light recently. While it’s unlikely to become a huge part of the current electronics ecosystem, the new connector would more than likely be included on any future versions of the Microsoft Surface.

According to the filings, the connector would include a seamless housing that contains the wire terminator and contacts. It would apparently be compatible with existing USB-C cables as well as the current slightly larger ones as well.

What’s interesting to note is the fact that USB-C adoption has been fairly slow thus far. The device you’re reading this article on more than likely has either standard USB jacks installed on it or perhaps one of the various types of microUSB ports that are popular on mobile devices.

One benefit of having such small ports, however, would be to make high read and write speeds possible on extremely thin devices. Much of the discussion about higher port speeds has involved talk of external storage, but Microsoft’s focus on the gamer market may actually have something to do with it.

External GPUs are becoming popular, and it would be possible to connect an extremely thin device to something like nVidia GTX cards that are mounted in an external housing. These devices would have to have a rather high signal rate in order to avoid screen tearing.

Such technology might also prove extremely attractive to the home media market as display screens with rather high pixel counts become more common in the home market.

John Rendace
John is a GNU/Linux expert with a hobbyist's background in C/C++, Web development, storage and file system technologies. In his free time, he maintains custom and vintage PC hardware. He's been compiling his own software from source since the DOS days and still prefers using the command line all these years later.

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Microsoft Seems to Hold Two Patents for Smaller USB-C Connectors

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