Today we point our spotlight at one method of supporting multiple USB plug form factors in the most compact layout possible: putting a (micro) USB plug inside a USB (type A) plug. It doesn’t look terribly robust or reliable for the long term, but it is indeed extremely compact and clever in its own Rube Goldberg way.
The mechanical engineer who devised this contraption took advantage of the fact a micro USB plug’s entire outer dimension is physically smaller than the “tongue” part of a USB type A plug. And conveniently, all the pins are electrically identical so they are easy to route. From there it’s a matter of creating the small sheet metal hinge for the exterior surround of type A portion of the plug so the user can swing it out of the way and expose the micro USB plug embedded within.
Usually smaller flash memory brands assemble their product from spot market purchases and other similar existing large volume products. Gigastone is not one of the bigger names. Given this, the initial assumption (fair or not) was that this plug is a catalog item somewhere. But if so, it’s not obviously available from Digi-Key or Mouser.
Given the lack of immediately obvious source, we’ll tentatively assign credit for this clever design to Gigastone and their team behind this particular flash drive. Good job, guys, this item’s cleverness managed to stand it out amongst the crowd of commodity flash drive offerings.