The Cables That Feed Our Power-Hungry Phones

A between keystrokes story

Constantin Stan


“Does anyone have a Samsung cable?”

I heard this question in the morning at the office.

Most of the time, I’m prepared with any type of cable that I might need during a normal working day.

There’s the Micro-USB, which used to be the star of the show.
Then the Lightning cable, which spells Apple and the mighty USB-C that is settling in as the new kid on the block threatening to make the first two snap of envy.

The future of the latter is bright, Apple slowly adopting it with its products and other gadget manufacturers being taxed by costumers when they still decide to (still) use the Micro-USB connector.

“Will this help?”

I asked, handing over a USB-C cable.

A short moment of silence followed, in which the cable was visually analyzed and matched against the phone.

“No, this might be the new one…”

“Then it’s this one!”

I said with confidence, knowing that this was a binary decision.

With hope restored and empowered the co-worker thanked me, promised to bring it back and returned happily to business.

So, in the end, the Micro-USB cable was the “Samsung cable”.

A short history of phone cables

There was a time when every phone manufacturer had a connector for power/data transfer of their own. Sometimes they had one for a specific phone model and dropped it out and reinvented another one for the next model. Sony, Nokia, and others seemed to be very creative when it came to just that.

To find a cable for your phone it was almost an impossible mission. The cables were expensive and hard to find on the market.

Little by little, to the benefit of the consumers, some standards were adopted.

First, there was the Mini-USB (USB Mini-B). Then Micro-USB (USB Micro-B) took its place and became de facto for many years.