Google suggests standardised charging, wants to make it safer

Google's Guidebook has been updated for Android Nougat and Google is pushing for a standardized implementation of the USB-C port

Written by Swapnil Mathur | Published:November 16, 2016 6:48 pm
Google, Google pixel, android nougat, charging ports, android charging ports, standardised charging ports, micro USB, usb type-c, Android phones, quick charge, qualcomm quick charge, smartphone charging, technology, technology news Google recommends to ditch all forms of proprietary fast charging methods in favour of a standardised port

In the wake of exploding phone batteries, Google has proposed several changes to the way manufacturers are to implement the handling of charging. These changes are not mandatory, but are highly recommended by Google, and have been put forth in the Android Compatibility Definition Document, the guidebook for making phones compatible with Android.

The Guidebook has been updated for Android Nougat and Google is pushing for a more streamlined and standardized implementation of the USB-C port. Of the many changes recommended, the most notable recommendation by Google is to ditch all forms of proprietary fast charging methods, which include Qualcomm’s Quick Charge found across most Android phones. “Type-C devices are strongly recommended to not support proprietary charging methods that modify Vbus voltage beyond default levels, or alter sink/source roles as such may result in interoperability issues with the chargers or devices that support the standard USB Power Delivery methods. While this is called out as “Strongly Recommended”, in future Android versions we might require all type-C devices to support full interoperability with standard type-C chargers.”

Google would prefer manufacturers to instead implement the USB-Power Delivery method, a standard and open source method of delivering and regulating voltage and current. The method allows for power delivery as high as 60W to the charging circuit in the phone. In comparison, Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 allows for only 18W of power throughput.

Given that we could be looking at much higher power input, Google has also urged manufacturers that “Type-C devices MUST detect 1.5A and 3.0A chargers per the Type-C resistor standard and it must detect changes in the advertisement.” Essentially this would ensure that you don’t blow your device just because you connected a cable with lower current threshold. For example, 3amps of current wont be supplied by the charger if it detects a 1.5amp resistor in the cable, ensuring that your phone doesn’t short out. The change requested by Google would make your device capable of detecting these changes.

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As of now, the changes introduced to the charging methodology are only suggestions, albeit strong ones. However, with the passage of time, there is no reason why Google shouldn’t make this a standard, mandatory practice. A standardized fast charging method across Android phones would be a very welcome move benefiting the consumers most of all. First, Chargers and cables would become inter-changeable once again, just like the micro-USB days. Secondly, there would be fewer cases of device shorting out because the cable stated a 3A resistance but only had a 1.5A resistor (as is the case with many ‘cheap’ cables). Third, and most important, a standardized charging protocol could see fewer cases of exploding cellphones.