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Google's new update to Chromebooks will tell users if cables do not support USB-4

Google's new update to Chromebooks will tell users if cables do not support USB-4
30 May, 2022

A new update in Chromebooks running the latest Intel processors will alert users if a USB cable does not support USB 4 or Thunderbolt 3 connectors or does not support the faster data transfer or charging rate they are capable of. This would help users identify and switch USB cables that are outdated and do not support the new connectivity standards. Chromebook users will also be warned if the cable they are using doesn’t support a monitor or display.

“Eligible Chromebooks will notify you if the USB-C cable you're using won’t support displays, or isn’t performing ideally for your laptop,” Google said.

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Google said this new feature is available on Chromebooks that are driven by Intel’s 11th or 12th-generation Core CPUs with USB4 or Thunderbolt capability. It will be rolled out on newer devices too, the Alphabet company added. 

This would also help Google change its perception of Chromebooks and push for wider adoption in the workplace. Currently, Chromebooks are mostly used for educational purposes. The pandemic-led shift to remote work and learning has led to a massive increase in demand for notebooks, especially in markets such as India.

Published in 2019, USB 4 standard is now available on several devices including laptops. Based on the same protocol as Thunderbolt 3, it has higher bandwidth and supports data transfer at up to 40 Gbps via certified cables, which is twice what its predecessor USB 3.2 can muster. 

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Most USB cables look similar even though they support different connectivity standards and speeds may vary drastically. Users updating to new devices including laptops often do not upgrade their USB cables and end up using them and then wonder why the file transfer is taking so much time or it's not connecting to a secondary display or monitor.

The latest advancements in USB technology have led to a significant leap in the user experience in terms of data transfer and even power transfer. USB retailers have also started rolling out USB Type-C 2.1 cables that can deliver up to 240W of power and charge high-end creator and gaming laptops using the universal Type-C cable. This would be a huge upgrade for laptops that support Type-C 2.0 as it only allowed 100W of power transfer.