Google might ban USB-C Quick Charge et. al from Android

JC Torres - Nov 8, 2016, 8:25 pm CDT
1
Google might ban USB-C Quick Charge et. al from Android

As removable batteries become a thing of the past, consumers, and even manufacturers, are left with a few fixes to address battery anxiety, from larger batteries in fatter phones, to power banks, to fast charging technologies. That last one, however, might soon be a rather complicated matter on Android. In the updated Android Compatibility Definition Document, Google is discouraging the use of non-standard third-party quick charging technologies for USB Type-C devices, even suggesting that, in the future, those might be completely banned from the platform.

It might sound like a damning piece of requirement but, in truth, Google is only addressing a very specific situation: fast charging over USB-C. Here is the full text of section 7.7.1 of the document:

“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.”

While not naming names, this basically covers Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology, which has been around far longer than the USB-C standard, but also ropes in MediaTek’s Pump Express, and OnePlus’ DASH Charge, among other technologies.

Admittedly, the charging situation with USB-C is both messy and precarious. USB-C does have its own fast charging standard named Power Delivery. In most cases, the implementation of these technologies are incompatible, leading to downright dangerous situations. It still remains to be seen how OEMs and chip makers like Qualcomm and MediaTek will respond to this wording, but Google is setting its foot down in order to help push USB-C Power Delivery forward. It doesn’t say anything against the likes of Quick Charge for older USB types.

The new Compatibility Definition Document, now updated for Android 7.0, also has a few interesting tidbits. Most curious is perhaps the idea of Android Extensions, which seems to be designed to allow newer features to be backported to older Android versions.

While the Compatibility Definition Document is a requirement for devices to be compatible with Android, the platform’s open source nature still leaves room for modification or disregard of those recommendations and requirements. That said, OEMs will have to play by Google’s rules if they want to remain within the good graces of Google.

SOURCE: Google (PDF)


Must Read Bits & Bytes