How much extra does it cost to manufacture devices with USB-C connection
March 6, 2018 7:28 AM   Subscribe

How much extra does it cost to manufacture electronic devices with USB-C connections vs micro USB connections?

Recently, DJI released the Osmo Mobile 2 mobile camera gimbal. Some customers are annoyed that DJI chose to continue using the older micro USB connectors rather than the newer USB-C.

My question is, how much extra would it have cost to support the newer, more user-friendly USB-C connection type? Or, on average, how much extra does it cost to use USB-C over micro USB in the manufacture of an electronic device?

I hope this trend of manufacturers cheaping out on us doesn't continue too much longer.
posted by purefusion to Technology (8 answers total)
Looking on Digikey, the least expensive USB-C receptacles I see are $0.97 each with minimum quantity 1000. Micro USB type B receptacles are around $0.14 to $0.20 in similar quantities. So just in terms of raw component costs, not much extra.
posted by exogenous at 7:40 AM on March 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

It looks like there are factors beyond price that are slowing USB-C adoption.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 7:44 AM on March 6, 2018 [8 favorites]

That's a good point and reminds me that there could be additional component costs besides the port itself. This isn't something I know much about but perhaps the hardware (port controller chip or whatever) to properly implement the USB-C protocol might be more expensive than for more well-established older USB protocols.

And then there is the R&D involved in getting the new USB-C working vs. possibly just re-using a previous implementation.
posted by exogenous at 8:08 AM on March 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

So just in terms of raw component costs, not much extra.

yeah, just 500% more. :/
posted by sexyrobot at 9:14 AM on March 6, 2018 [13 favorites]

For a USB device implementing USB C, you don't need any auxiliary hardware (just a resistor for ID, which is essentially free). Cost delta is going to be approximately the cost of the connector, which as exogenous states is quite a bit more expensive.

Host support adds additional cost. Usually you'd include a port controller that will run at least $.30 (DigiKey pricing).

Margins are very tight in consumer USB markets and $.50-$1 deltas are quite painful. So you only see "premium" devices picking it up. Until that price delta gets close to zero this isn't going to change.
posted by doomsey at 9:35 AM on March 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Bill of Materials costs ("BOM Costs") are managed to the penny (or below) for consumer electronics devices and that extra cost will be multiplied by 5 to 10x in the final price of the device to a consumer.
posted by GuyZero at 9:36 AM on March 6, 2018

USB C would also lock DJI out of compatibility with all phones made before late 2017: that's a big market to walk away from.
posted by scruss at 12:16 PM on March 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Not my field but...making the change may require changes to a chip they dont want to change for reasons unkown.
posted by SemiSalt at 2:30 PM on March 6, 2018

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