USB Type-C, USB OTG on smartphones: What They Are

You may have stumbled upon the terms USB-C and OTG as you pored over a new smartphone’s features and wondered what they are.  Here’s a brief description.

USB Type-C

Both ends of a USB-C cable

Both ends of a USB-C cable/Photo

Sometimes simply referred to as USB-C, this is a new standard for USB connections meant to replace older connections such as micro USB.

The USB-C connector has no up down orientation, meaning it can be plugged either way as long as the connector is in alignment with the port.

The connector is also the same on both ends, so there’s no worry of having the right or wrong end.

USB-C uses the USB 3.1 protocol, allowing up to 10 Gbps speeds.

USB-C has support from multiple device manufacturers including HP, Samsung, Apple, Dell, IBM among others.

This means that this type of connection is fast becoming standard across the board. This is helpful since it eliminates the hassle one has to go through to connect devices from different manufacturers.

It is also advantageous in the sense that it eliminates the need to have numerous connectors and adapters for the devices.


USB On The Go is a standard that enables mobile devices to connect directly to each other. Erstwhile, mobile devices could only connect to a host PC or Mac via USB.

USB-OTG logo

USB-OTG logo

USB-OTG also enables your mobile device to act as a host. This means that other device such as keyboards, mice, and various instruments can connect and work with it.

If your smartphone supports USB OTG, you will need a USB OTG adapter or cable to connect devices such as thumb drives or keyboards.

USB-OTG cable

USB-OTG cable

USB-OTG adapter

USB-OTG adapter


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Most smartphones manufactured within the last two years support USB OTG. This information can be found on the phone’s box, spec sheet or online.

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