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All-round Introduction of USB Type-A

Oct. 22, 2021

USB connectors come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but USB Type-A is the most common type of connector/interface. This flat, rectangular socket has been widely used for decades and is also referred to as 'Standard-A' in the official USB specification.

Uses of USB Type-A

You'll find that USB Type-A is the most common type of USB interface available today, with USB Type-A jacks found on most modern PCs, laptops, gaming consoles (such as PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch), smart TVs, TV boxes, routers and other devices, and these USB Type-A ports are also known as 'sockets'.

And devices like USB sticks, mice, keyboards, external hard drives, webcams, digital cameras, game controllers, mobile devices and many other peripherals and accessories often have USB Type-A connectors, often called 'plugs', that plug into USB Type-A ports.

The USB Type-A physical port is available for all USB versions from USB 1.0, USB 1.1, USB 3.0, USB 3.1 up to USB 3.2.

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USB Type-A compatibility

When it comes to the Universal Serial Bus (USB) standard, there are basically two things to consider: the physical shape of the connector and the underlying protocol.

While USB 1.1 only really became the universal standard for USB in 1998, the USB Type-A connector dates back to the original release of USB 1.0 in 1996.

This long-established, stable physical interface standard is more conducive to helping USB become downward compatible. In other words, you can plug any USB-A plug into any USB-A port and it will work just fine. Although the transfer speed may make you wait until your hair is grey, it will still work in the end.

Faster blue USB socket

USB Type-A connectors and ports that support the faster USB 3.0 speeds are usually blue on the inside; Type-A connectors that only support the slower USB 2.0 or USB 1.1 speeds are usually black on the inside.

The (blue) Type-A connectors that support USB 3.0 speeds have 9 pins, whereas the older USB connectors have only 4 pins. However, they are still backward compatible and will only work at their highest capacity when two USB 3.0 devices are connected to each other. Otherwise, slower speeds will be used.

USB Type-C is the future

While USB Type-A is still the most widely used interface, the future belongs to what is becoming increasingly common on new devices - USB Type-C. The likes of Apple's MacBook Pro have even abandoned USB-A and have only USB-C connectors.

Smaller USB Type-C connectors are actually needed for the next generation of the USB standard - USB4. AIKE, as a cable interface manufacturer, will also keep up with the times and develop more new connectors. Stay tuned for more news.

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