USB as a divice standard?

Proprietary Cables vs Standard USB

Standard USB

Standard USB connectors are becoming more and more…standard. Last year a bunch of cell phone companies agreed on using mini USB B on future cellphones and that deal is starting to show on the cell phone market. The MP3 player market is also dominated by mini USB B, and it’s been a while since we’ve seen a player with for example a USB B connector . Mini USB B provide a small but effective connector and you can find spare cables everywhere and use them with multiple devices. Chargers for these devices are often sold as product specific, but in reality any mini USB B cable plus an AC to USB adapter (or car to USB adapter) would work. This is also the case for most players with proprietary connectors, but when you need that special cable on top of the AC/car to USB adapter the savings often go up in smoke.

The downside of standard USB is that docking becomes close to impossible. As mentioned before there are 4 pin audio jacks that might do the trick and some cell phone manufacturers also use the 4 pin USB connectors for audio, but all in all 4 pins isn’t enough to provide the freedom that proprietary cables provide with regards to accessories. Some players also use extra USB connectors for accessory connections, like the Cowon D2 which has a standard mini USB B for data transfer and an additional 7 pin micro USB connector for line in, TV out and charging.

The bottom line with standard USB is that it will give you freedom to use cheap cables and not have specific ones for each device, but it will also limit you with regards to docking and accessories.

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