Harmonization of fast charging in the EU with USB PD will be a big problem for Android

Harmonization of fast charging in the EU with USB PD will be a big problem for Android

For those who don’t know, European lawmakers reached an agreement earlier this week that will force manufacturers of electronic devices, including smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and more, to use the same universal charging port – USB-C. That is right, USB-C everything is enshrined in law and will enter into force in the EU in the fall of 2024. Satisfying a regular USB-C charger will not only reduce e-waste, but also make our lives easier. The benefits of using a single charger with a USB-C to C cable for all gadgets cannot be underestimated.

As someone who uses an Android phone along with several other gadgets that already use the same USB-C port for charging, I’m more interested in the piece of legislation that harmonizes USB PD fast charging standards. This is something that was missing in the main news, although it may be more new to the Android ecosystem. Even if you exclude Apple from the equation behind your fast charging competitors, you can’t ignore the charge speed mismatch between some Android flagships. But how does the EU agree to make USB PD more common in order to solve our fast charging problems? Let’s try to make sense of it.

Harmonization of fast charging with USB PD

Before we begin, it is worth emphasizing that legislation does not prevent manufacturers from creating their own patented fast charging standards. This means that manufacturers, including OPPO, Xiaomi and Huawei, can continue to push the boundaries with their own charging methods. The EU’s agreement is that it creates an element of harmony: you can do it while you are too USB Power Delivery support. The agreement mentions compliance with EN IEC 62680-1 and its subsections, basically referring to USB Power Delivery Specification, Revision 3.0, Version 2.0 (ie support up to 100W).


USB Power delivery specifications according to the EU agreement

From our reading of the EU agreement, we understood that device manufacturers are asked to incorporate a USB Power Delivery charging communication protocol if they want their devices to have a charging power greater than 15 W. Very generally speaking, I expect all smartphone manufacturers to The magic of the competition will be satisfied with a fixed level of power (either 45W or even 65W over PD), which will allow us to quickly charge any phones with the same charging speed outside of proprietary methods. Yes, there is also 25W “fast” charging, but it is unlikely to become a normal level to which competition forces everyone to rise – 45W seems to be much better. Yes, there’s nothing stopping them from choosing the 15W USB PD as well – but we expect competitive forces to force OEMs to perform better.

Take, for example, the vanilla Galaxy S22. This particular phone has a charging speed of 25 W, which is the same as its predecessor, the Galaxy S21. However, the Galaxy S22 Plus and Galaxy S22 Ultra support 45W fast charging. These require a USB PD charger with programmable power supply (PPS) support for a full 45 W charge, and yet the phones themselves require 40 W + for just a few moments before dropping to around 30 W. Some might argue for a declining return on charging speed. , in terms of power consumption compared to charging time, but replenishing the Galaxy S22 vanilla tank from 0% to 100% takes much longer than would be needed for a phone of this size that costs so much. how it does. This is especially annoying due to the not very ideal endurance of the Galaxy S22 vanilla battery.

If the harmonization of USB PD fast charging means that all these phones would keep the single faster USB PD charging speed to a minimum, it would also be much better to use these compact phones with smaller batteries. Each time you run out of these phones, it would be easier to find a compatible charger around that will give you enough juice for the next few hours. While it’s certainly not a perfect replacement, the ability to quickly charge a dying phone with maximum ease would make using compact phones with relatively smaller batteries more enjoyable. Remember that this standard also applies to laptops, cameras and other electronic devices, so your chances of encountering a compatible charger and cable will increase many times over.

To take another example on Android, the OnePlus 10 Pro can push up to 45W via USB PD with 15V support and up to 3.0A, and that’s when you look for the proprietary 65W / 80W charging that OnePlus uses as a point of sale . However, the PD charging speed is still sensitive to the specific voltage and varies depending on the change in battery current. USB PD 3.0, if you don’t know it, has abandoned fixed power profiles in favor of a more flexible rule that preserves fixed voltage while allowing for a wider range of current levels. USB Power Delivery Programmable Power Supply alleviates some of these problems with configurable voltage levels. Satisfying with a normal USB PD charging speed is probably not as easy as we would imagine, given how the charging speed is sensitive to a particular voltage and also varies depending on the current battery charge, but it requires more discussion at the technical level to fill in the gaps.

Fast charging for iPhone or its lack

Charging port for iPhone SE 2022

The idea of ​​harmonizing fast charging is especially interesting for iPhones, which remain popular gadgets of USB-C charging. Even the most powerful iPhones on the market right now use the Lightning port, a proprietary connector that Apple introduced in 2012 with the iPhone 5. iPhones have really improved over the years in terms of charging speed, but current charging speeds still mean nothing. sneeze at.

Even if you spend an arm and a leg buying an expensive 30W Apple charger for your iPhone 13 Pro Max, the transition from 0 to 100% will take up to an hour and 30 minutes. But do you know what can solve this basic charging problem that doesn’t bother the iPhone, but also many other Android phones? Yes, right, give us phones that can use USB PD charging to quickly charge the battery, so we can all carry one charger or rent it without having to worry about charging speed.

Look, it’s nice to be able to use a proprietary solution to recharge your phone quickly. But I should also be able to use any standard USB PD charger and get up to say 45W to charge the phone. It doesn’t match what some manufacturers like OPPO are cooking behind the scenes with their 240W chargers, but I think 45W is enough to charge the phone really fast. The trade-off at a lower than proprietary speed would be offset by the absolute wide availability of a USB PD-compatible charger, which would mean a net win for consumers.

Final thoughts

Although improving charging speeds or gaining charging standards in the market is not the main reason why EU lawmakers have moved the needle, there is still a need to think about how things can change for the better by autumn 2024. remorse against phones that use proprietary charging, but I’d like to take more “W” (no puns) if harmonizing fast charging with USB PD saves me the hassle of charging different chargers according to the phones I use.

Laptops will also have to comply with this rule, but it will happen later and it is a completely different conversation, as it will be interesting to see how the budget proposals deal with this policy, as most USB-C charging laptops on the market are more expensive ultralight models. As mentioned, I’m excited to be able to use the same charger for some other devices I carry with me all the time, including laptops, cameras, handheld game consoles, etc., and quickly refill the tank without having to wait. for a long time.

Both the European Parliament and the Council have yet to vote on the legislation, but let’s talk a little about this. So what do you think about the decision to standardize USB-C and PD? Also, how do you think manufacturers – especially Apple – will respond to EU policy? Let us know by leaving a line in the comments below.


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