Types of Micro USB Cables
By Dan Stone
Micro USB is the smallest form-factor USB connection type. There are two connection types and a USB 3.0 variation of both within the Micro USB standard. USB Micro-A and USB Micro-B are physically not interchangeable and the cable needs to match the connected device's connection type. The Micro USB connection type is often used on devices where the standard and Mini USB connection ports are too large to be practical. The Micro USB cables offer the same performance as the standard size.
USB Connection Standard
USB is the most widely used peripheral device connection standard used by computers and other electronics. USB is a backwards- and forwards-compatible technology, which means it allows devices that use different generations like USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 to work together as long as the devices are using the proper connection cable. Cross-generation devices will drop to the lowest USB standard. According to PC Magazine, USB 1.1 devices can transfer data at 12Mbps, USB 2.03 devices can transfer data at 480Mbps and USB 3.0 devices can transfer data at 4800Mbps. Most USB cables feature a Type-A plug on one side that's intended to be used with the computer or a charging device.
Micro-B USB Cable
USB Micro-B is the standard commonly used by cellular phones and other small electronic devices. Micro-B ports for USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 devices appear identical. The Micro-B type features both male and female connectors on cables, enabling different devices to use either connection type. Typically, a cellular phone will feature the male side connector and the cable will feature a female connector. Micro-B connectors and ports have tapered corners, giving the port the appearance of a half hexagon.
Micro-A USB Cable
USB Micro-A is the preferred connection type for USB On The Go devices. According to PC Magazine, USB OTG is different from the normal USB connection because it allows two devices to communicate without a computer to facilitate the connection. The Micro-A USB type is used in conjunction with Micro-B USB devices; USB OTG devices feature a Micro-AB socket that features ports for both connection types. USB Micro-A cables have rectangular, female-only connectors.
USB 3.0 Cables
Devices that use the USB 3.0 revision of Micro-A and Micro-B ports feature a double-socketed connection port. Both Type-A and Type-B still use different connection standards. The cable connector size used by the USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 Micro USB standard is not big enough to physically handle the USB 3.0 connection speed. In order to maintain backwards compatibility, Micro USB 3.0 devices feature a cable that is split into two connectors. One of the connectors is backwards-compatible with the old Type-A or Type-B cables, whereas the other is only used by USB 3.0 connections. According to technology website The Verge, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is the first phone to feature the Micro USB 3.0 port type.
Dan Stone started writing professionally in 2006, specializing in education, technology and music. He is a web developer for a communications company and previously worked in television. Stone received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a Master of Arts in communication studies from Northern Illinois University.