We’re half way through 2015 and computer manufacturers are scrambling to offer their customers access to that holy grail of USB connectors, the Type-C, after Apple chose it as the only socket on their new MacBook Pro. Its USB 3.1 rating comes with speeds of up to 10Gbps and 20V, 5A power that can travel both ways in addition to a reversible plug, Apple might have had a point.
Before we get excited about the future though, let’s think about those poor individuals who don’t have access to this technology. More than 1 billion Android devices were shipped last year with another 1 billion forecast during 2015, and they come with either USB 2.0 or 3.0 connectors. That’s a massive market crying out for change, desperate for something better; and one company is hoping that it’s not better speed or power options that they’re looking for.
Without further preamble, I introduce the Micro-USB cable called Micro-Flip that has passed 30% of its modest $15,000 Kickstarter target in just 2 days. With a standard USB plug on one end, a uniquely shaped reversible plug that connects to micro-USB 2.0 Type-B on the other, it promises to end fumbling around when trying to charge a mobile device in the dark. Of course it’s not just useful in the dark. I take a few attempts to charge my mobile even in the daylight and not because my eyesight is failing, but due to the wisdom of Samsung providing a USB 2.0 cable when my Galaxy S5 has a 3.0 socket. That’s when it hit me, the problem I have connecting my phone to the USB cable is not due to the orientation of the plug but has more to do with the shape of the socket. I used to be able to charge all my old phones by touch alone due to differences in the shape of the plug’s moulding.
If I’m not Micro-Flip’s target audience, who is? I guess it’s anyone who has broken a micro-USB socket by forcing in the plug when it’s upside-down, or anyone who is worried about doing so. It’s for anyone who because of age, disease or disability has enough trouble plugging in their device at all, let alone turning the plug over and having to try again. It’s also for any one of the billions of android users out there who simply want a bit more convenience in their lives. Micro-Flip might not be for me, but there should be enough customers out there to make this Kickstarter campaign a success.