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I have devices that take regular USB, mini USB, and micro USB.

Wikimedia image of USB types

I get why each was developed. I also get that there is substantial investment in full-sized Type A - every computer has one, and every flash drive expects one.

But why do we keep making full-sized Type B and Mini-B sockets on devices? Why not make every device take Micro B? Is there a technical reason, or is it just a matter of momentum?

Interesting note regarding durability, from the Wikipedia article:

The newer Micro-USB receptacles are designed to allow up to 10,000 cycles of insertion and removal between the receptacle and plug, compared to 1500 for the standard USB and 5000 for the Mini-USB receptacle.

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closed as not constructive by techie007, Gnoupi, random Jul 6 '10 at 1:49

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Were you going to replace the "Wikimedia image of USB types" label with an actual image? –  Hello71 Jul 5 '10 at 19:18
    
What do you see? I see bit.ly/dBTC0c on Chrome under Windows. –  Jay Bazuzi Jul 5 '10 at 20:29
    
In Firefox 3.6.6 I see only the text "Wikimedia image of USB types". Yes, it may work in Chrome, but the filetype of the "image" you referenced, .svg, is apparently not implemented in all browsers. (I personally have never heard of it, but then I don't get out much either.) –  irrational John Jul 5 '10 at 21:40
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@irrational - Edited the post, the image should now work in FF too. –  BloodPhilia Jul 5 '10 at 22:19
    
Looks like someone found a link to a PNG format and fixed it. Thanks! –  Jay Bazuzi Jul 5 '10 at 22:21
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1 Answer

I'll dare to answer this.

Micro USB B is mainly for new devices and its biggest strong points are durability and size. I may be wrong, but I haven't heard anything about using micro ports on computers.

Another point is momentum. There's a whole industry behind mini USB port. Some engineers may not see any improvement with use of micro USB ports if there is enough space on the device. On the other hand, you'll need to redesign devices chassis to fit micro USB port there.

The switch also makes other complications. For example in my country there was (and I think still is) a shortage of micro USB B to USB A cables. And many device makers try to save some money by making the cable an extra equipment (Nokia, Samsung, I'm looking at you!). It is plausible that engineers are aware of such situations and want to skip the problem.

Some people think that there is no need for them to be "first" to push something through. They'd rather wait for micro plugs to completely replace mini before switching to them.

Another point are stockpiles. Someone needs to use up all those connectors. Think about what would happen if everyone suddenly said: I'm gonna use micro connectors for everything! There would by overstocks of mini connectors and shortages of micro connectors. It would take some time for situation to stabilize.

Another thing are people. For example my grandmother has difficulties connecting micro USB B cables, but can connect full size without any problem.

Also, space. Sometimes it just isn't appropriate to use a tiny connector. There is almost no good reason for printers to switch to micro USB B port, well except for greedy manufacturers who'd try to sell cables for just $29.99.

Another point is environment. Take USB chargers for example. Micro USB devices would need chargers with appropriate connectors, so you'd need converter for older charger.

I'm guessing here, but I'd say that equipment needed to manufacture micro cables is more expensive than equipment needed to manufacture full size or mini cables.

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4  
The "grandmother problem", aka accessibility, is a good point. Full-size is easier to handle. But mini and micro are not far apart in ease of use. So it probably makes sense to keep full-size where there's plenty of room, but switch mini to micro. –  Jay Bazuzi Jul 5 '10 at 16:53
    
The other thing I've wondered is the proximity of the cables. We wall know that bigger cables can carry a signal further with less derogation. when you push the 440MB/s down into a space that small, it might start interfering. HOWEVER!!! Do not take my word for this. I'm mostly just speaking out loud. This might be a concern, it might be TOTALLY FALSE. But logically, it would seem that this might be the case. –  Narcolapser Jul 5 '10 at 16:57
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@Narcolapser Well, yes and no. Cables with higher diameter would be better. On the other hand USB uses two data cables using differential signaling. That means that cables should be close together in order to minimize noise. Also standard cables can be used with micro connectors. @Jay Bazuzi I read somewhere that mini is considered deprecated, so that's a plus for micro. You are right about accessibility. –  AndrejaKo Jul 5 '10 at 17:23
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