Google might soon kill off proprietary fast charging standards, with new power delivery guidelines

Google maintains a set of compliance guidelines for Android device compatibility in a document called the Compatibility Definition Document (CDD). With Android 7.0, Google is placing stronger emphasis on charging standards.


Google maintains a set of compliance guidelines for Android device compatibility in a document called the Compatibility Definition Document (CDD). With Android 7.0, Google is placing stronger emphasis on charging standards.

Device and chipset manufacturers, including Qualcomm and Samsung, are playing fast and loose with USB-C voltage and pin guidelines, essentially making certain brands of chargers incompatible with the order.

Currently, charging current varies from 1A to 3A or more and voltages and pin configurations also vary by as wide a margin. A Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 compliant charger may be incompatible with Huawei’s SuperCharge, for example, which is hostile to users and is something that Google doesn’t seem to want.

In the first place, there’s the issue of compatibility. More serious, however, is the fact that USB-C Li-Ion batteries are incredibly fickle, as Samsung found out the hard way, and non-standard voltages and currents can irreparably damage a battery or circuit. Some companies, like Qualcomm, apparently switch pin source and sink pin configurations as well.

Google currently classifies compliance with these guidelines as “STRONGLY RECOMMENDED”, but it warns that this can change to “MANDATORY” in the near future. Google has also made it mandatory for companies to include systems that will enable a phone to detect the power delivery capability of a charger when plugged in.

These changes to the CDD puts paid to plans of many companies including the likes of Qualcomm, OnePlus, Oppo and more. These companies have developed their own fast charging standards with proprietary voltage and current regulation.

Google’s own Pixel smartphone adheres to USB-C Power Delivery standards and does provide fast charging capabilities. Google’s guidelines will slow down the development of proprietary standards, but that doesn’t mean that it’s killed off fast charging.

Third-party device manufacturers will simply have to find a way to work within Google’s guidelines if they hope to produce a certified device.

In the end, the consumer is the one who’ll benefit.


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