A plea to gadget vendors: pick a micro-USB orientation and stick with it

For most of this year, my desk has been littered with a changing cast of mobile devices. But since all of this year’s gadgets, save one,¬†replenish their batteries over micro-USB cables, I rarely bother taking each new model’s charger and cable out of the box–I can use any random micro-USB cable.

Phone micro-USB portsYet I still have to expend precious brain cells figuring out whether any given phone requires me to plug in the USB cable with its flat side or its curved–er, chamfered–side up. There’s no consensus about this: Of five gadgets on my desk, two opt for the former approach and three go with the latter.

I don’t see any reason to keep users guessing (and, in some rare cases, damaging USB cables by trying to plug them in the wrong way). When I finally got around to whining about this divisive issue¬†on Twitter last week, my initial vote was to have the flat side up and the curved side down; that roughly mirrors the contours of most phones and tablets.

But another Twitter user quickly pointed out that the USB spec describes the curved side as the top and calls for the USB logo to be displayed there. (Another visual cue: In this orientation, the small metal prongs on the metal end of the plug face down, as most fangs do.) On reflection, that’s good enough for me. So can we settle on that orientation and move on to squabbling over even less consequential technical details?