When You Need More Than ‘It’s Just USB-C’
As the industry moves towards USB-C, the humble port has found itself in the news. From smartphones switching to the port and laptops that don’t make the leap, to different quality of cables and what its strengths are, USB-C is a topic that is everywhere, but rarely discussed.
I recently met up with Jen Warren, Director of Global PR at Belkin International, to talk over the possibilities of USB-C and what it means to Belkin.
First up, do consumers understand what USB-C is for? “For many the concept is that USB-C is a port. Others see it as technology for power or date”, explains Warren. “But for most people they just know that USB-C works no matter if it is up or down.”
USB-C brings with it a new threat that hasn’t been visible in previous USB connectors. because the USB-C can transport data and power, it is possible to fry a device. purchasers need to do due diligence at the manufacturers of their peripherals and cables. You want producers that take a look at their USB-C gadgets.
Belkin naturally works closely with the USB Implementors Forum (USB-IF) to ensure maximum compatibility. That includes attending ‘Plug Fests’, a multi-day gathering of engineers, shot devices, cables, and peripherals are tested and bug fixed in as many combinations as possible.
USB-C is one example, but there are others that might seem more practical. Take the recent removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack from the iPhone 7. Belkin’s long-standing relationship with Apple allowed them to have “an understanding on what was needed in the market”. And when the iPhone 7 was announced to the public, the same day saw a number of audio peripherals announced by Belkin which were on sale within thirty days
Speaking of plug parties, the latest accessory from Belkin not only features USB-C, but a range of other plugs and port. The Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD plugs into the USB-C socket of the latest MacBook Pro and iMac machines providing power, but it also offers two more Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports and the ability to daisy chain five more Thunderbolt devices, three USB-A ports, one display port, an audio out and an audio in/out port, a gigabit Ethernet port, all hooked up to a 170W power adapter that will drive the peripherals and still leave 85W for your main computer.
The Express Dock feels like a physical representation of Belkin’s (Belkin express dock) mission. “We sit at a cusp for consumer,” Warren enthusiastically reminded me, “and its Belkin’s job to bridge the gap and bring technologies together.”