Skip to main content

Google might torpedo Qualcomm Quick Charge in future Android versions

Fast Charging
Fast Charging (Image credit: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

Between Qualcomm Quick Charge, MediaTek Pump Express, Oppo VOOC, OnePlus Dash Charge, Huawei SuperCharge, Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging and Motorola Turbo Charge, fast charging methods on Android phones are kind of a mess. Some of them overlap, but not all are interoperable, and when you consider that some require not only a custom charger but a specific cable, it's a confusing situation for consumers.

And given the potential safety issues with dodgy USB-C chargers and cables, it's easy to see why Google, as a platform holder, might want to step in.

In the latest Android Compatibility Definition Document — which lays out the rules manufacturers must adhere to in order to ship Google-approved Android 7.0 devices — the company lays out some strong recommendations intended to nudge phone makers away from nonstandard USB-C charging methods like Qualcomm QuickCharge. The references, first spotted by Android Police, suggest such changes may come into force in future Android versions.

From the Android 7.0 CDD:

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.

The first part of that quote basically describes Qualcomm QuickCharge over USB-C, as used today on devices like the HTC 10 and LG G5. And the second part telegraphs that device makers should prepare for the hammer to be brought down in some future release.

USB Power Delivery, the standard used by Google's Pixel phones, is clearly the preferred way to bring interoperable fast charging to future Android devices. But needless to say, a hard requirement to ditch the likes of Quick Charge over USB-C is sure to ruffle a few feathers. (Qualcomm, for instance, makes money licensing the tech to manufacturers.)

AP also notes that the new docs require Android 7.0 devices with USB-C to detect both 1.5A and 3.0A chargers, including changes in how much power the charger can send. In theory, this means that standard 3A Type-C chargers should be a relatively reliable way to rapid-charge a vast majority of USB-C Android devices in future.

Who knows exactly when Google's "strong recommendations" against the likes of Qualcomm Quick Charge might turn into a hard requirement. It's possible this could come as soon as Android 7.1.1 (Nougat Maintenance Release 1) when that's finalized in December. More likely, we'll be looking at a longer trajectory, with such a change taking effect in Android O.

Alex Dobie
Alex Dobie

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.

104 Comments
  • In light of non standard cables causing problems and the reminder Samsung gave us that batteries are dangerous, there is no reason to not be following the specs other than pure ignorance and laziness. Engineering specs and guidelines are made for very specific reasons. If you do not follow them, you can potentially have a very big problem. Just another way Qualcomm is passively hurting the Android ecosystem...
  • Android O is turning into Android OSHI- as Google brings down the hammer.
  • Great, more standard non-standards.
  • But Motorola's Turbo Charging on their USB Type C devices (hi Moto Z family) don't use Qualcomm Quick Charger. In fact, 5V/3A USB-C to USB-C triggers the TurboPower Charging toast message.
  • That sounds similar to the fast charge spec on the Nexus/Pixel line. So they may be following protocol.
  • MotoZ TurboCharge "standard" IS the same as Google's standard 5V/3A
  • From what I've heard, the more recent Motorola TurboPower chargers may be following USB-C spec. Plugging it into a Qualcomm Quick Charge did not enable Quick Charge. It just enabled 5V 2.1A charging. Maybe Jerry can explain?
  • First, "Full Interoperability" doesn't mean it can't ALSO support other charging standards. They "recommend" not supporting alternate charging methods, but that's not necessarily mutually exclusive from the stated possible mandate. Second, if it IS mandated in such a way as to be mutually exclusive, how long do you think it'll be before manufacturers either turn away from Type-C, or go the way of Amazon, and make their own forked version of Android, and stop dealing with Google's mandates? Google can throw their weight around all they want, but they risk overreaching.
  • Right. The way Google is going, if Samsung were to go with Tizen and could get some good apps, I would probably go with them.
  • Sure. As long as you don't use or want apps for Google Maps, Gmail, Google Photos, YOuTube, Play Music, Google Drive, Docs, or any other google service...
  • Most of this stuff is available on iOS. If Samsung took most of their customers with them, they would likely make it available because Google wants to keep making money.
  • When Google brought they're services to iOS it was not a start up OS
  • Google is not gonna allow their apps on Tizen ..
  • You're pretty confident that Google wouldn't want their services on the largest phone manufacturer in the world.
  • You're assuming that Samsung would still maintain their lead while leaving the single most popular mobile ecosystem in the world. Samsung's "Galaxy Apps" market has even fewer apps than Windows phone. Samsung needs Android more than Android needs Samsung.
  • You can install all of those apps on a non approved device. The requirement from Google is just to be allowed to preload the apps on the device when shipping it. Anyone always has been able to download those apps to any device after the fact from the Play Store.
  • Tizen devices won't have the Play Store ...
  • You can, but then Google will sue you for stealing their intellectual property. Individual rommers and modders aren't worth going after, but Google would go after any company that tried to do this. When cyanogenmod got too big as a custom rom they forced them to remove Google Apps from automatically being installed with the rom.
  • The only Google apps I use on a regular basis are Maps and YouTube. I can live without Maps as there are plenty of alternatives out there and I can watch YouTube through a browser as I do on my windows phones and Amazon tablet.
  • Yeah I doubt it. Case in point, the Fire Phone. Google is doing the right thing here
  • This isn't about Type C vs other ports per se, you can have a Type C port and not support PD and that's exactly the problem, it's dangerous and causes confusion. The USB-IF PD spec itself, which has nothing to do with Google, states that if you're gonna use the port for PD you can't try and support some other proprietary spec... It's pointless to do so, we have a good open standard, stop trying to break and subvert it to earn a quick buck in licensing fees.
  • So I'd have to buy all new chargers for fast charging basically. Google is starting to piss me off. Most flagships use Qualcomm so why worry about this power delivery thing. There's not very many notable phones using it. Just the phones Google is pushing and it's not like they're gonna sell that many of those anyway.
  • Completely untrue. What this would ensure is that any USB-C charger you purchase should work. with USB-C there is no reason to not follow the standards. The power restricts that existed with the original USB implementation do not exist and USB-C if followed makes all non standard charging methods obsolete that existed for the legacy platform
  • I don't purchase chargers anymore because I already have a million Qualcomm quick charge or Samsung adaptive fast charging chargers. You're telling me that they'll fast charge by USB C?
  • The list of phones in the article shows that most flagships don't use Qualcomm.
  • I'm fairly certain you'll start caring more about this once the mainstream desktops and laptops catch on and start having USB C ports by default, and you won't be able to fast charge through them because your phone is not compliant.
  • I don't connect my phones to the computer. I have no reason to. I can see how that would be helpful for some though.
  • This is potentially hardware durability and safety issue. Qualcomm is forcing the USB-C port to deliver power in a way that it was not designed to do. This is not debate on which should be the standard. One standard follows the spec for the USB C port and one does not. As it stands, manufacturers should not be allowed to even sell the phones like this.
  • +1
  • Qualcomm jumped the gun, plain and simple, there was no reason to shoehorn QC unto that type C port for ONE year's flagship's just to earn a quick licensing buck... And there's no reason to support a proprietary charging spec that only works with one company's SoC and with a few phones when there's an open standard that's both safer, open, more versatile, and supports everything from laptops to tablets and phones.
  • +1 Couldn't agree more.
  • After the Samsung debacle, standardizing charger safety makes a lot of sense. This includes both phones and 3rd party chargers.
  • Maybe that's what caused the Note 7 to explode... not just questionable battery design but non standard charging with them putting USB-C in their smartphone for first time. I was wondering with USB-C, wireless charging in both standards... latest and greatest everything and they only gave QC 2.0 while with same chips on other phones support QC 3.0??
  • MediaTek Pump Express sounds awesome.
  • Chuckle
  • But DashCharge is actually better than what they do... Instead of punishing other innovators and stifling progress Google should gather them in a consortium and use all the combined tech to make one standard, badass spec.
  • That... Is what google is doing.
  • Not really, it looks like they're agressively telling OEM's to F off.
  • Actually they are telling them to use what the USB consortium has come up with already. Did you know that if they follow the USB-C spec they can already provide well beyond what any other fast charging spec allows.
  • I respectfully disagree. Just comparing the pixel and the 6P to the charge rate and ability of my phone with ampere leads me to this disagreement.
  • Exactly. Every phone right now is different. That is the oem fault. Google is saying, Hey you had your chance and none of you want to make your stuff meet the standard so since this is causing a problem, we're going to make you meet the needed standards
  • The thing is they're saying make them meet standards, and consequently be worse. The 6P and Pixel "meet standards" and are IMO worse. They charge slower and the handset gets hotter.
  • Splitting hairs. The difference between all these fast charging phones is negligible. Thus, a safer standard take precedence
  • I dunno if I''d call it splitting hairs. Faster and cooler = safer...not so much what Google is doing. That said I'm not hardware engineer, my game is software.
  • Untrue.
  • You do realize most major OEM ARE part of the body that signed off on the USB-IF's PD spec right? An open, safe, versatile standard not tied down by propetary tech or licensing fees. Google is just telling them to use it, it's not Google's fault a few of then went did their own thing while ignoring the standard they had signed on for.
  • So you're saying dash charge isn't safe? We know for fact it's faster.
    We know for fact it keeps the device cooler. It does these both better than Google's offerings that adhere to spec. Is there a shred of evidence that dash is unsafe? No. Which begs the question: Why sacrifice speed and efficiency in the name of safety when others have figured out how to have both?
  • Care to quote a source for all these facts?
  • Oh and any charging spec that tries to keep throwing more current and volts over Type A ports with no standard way to negotiate what will happen when connected is inherently less safe than PD, you never know what people will end up connecting to what... There's a reason PD is limited to Type C, it's safer that way. You can't connect older devices to Type C chargers and PD devices still charge fast off older chargers, just slower. The problem is a lot of people keep thinking this is just about phones, it's not.
  • Oh and I've seen via ampere exactly what happens when you dash charge a pixel c or a 6P. The voltage goes down, and the amps do too.
  • I think he means how DASH moves the IC and cooling stuff to the wallwart itself. Those tend to be the components that generate quite a bit of heat when charging. So by moving it away from the phone to the wallwart, the phone stays cooler. In theory, this means that the phone can keep charging at maximum speed for longer, even white in use. And since the battery stays cooler, it's better for the lifespan of the battery. I'm not entirely sure how OnePlus/Oppp gave it a 5V/4A speed, but consider this. If there is one out there that s fully compliant with Power Delivery, it's an infant buy for me.
  • I seem to recall asking you the same question. Please by all means prove that dash charge aka vooc is not safe.
  • They'll wait until official support for the Nexus 5X is done for sure since that charger isn't USB-C complaint. There is issues with the 6P charger as well. I charge overnight or at work anyway so I don't care how long it takes to charge. I would like wireless charging to make a comeback. Apple has us covered there I think (and when they do something everyone follows). Yes I know Samsung and a few others have it but when Apple adopts it Google will probably decide it is a great, new feature.
  • So long as a way to charge phones fast and safely is found I don't really care what accessories I need to buy.
  • Wish I could worry about this kind of stuff like the rest of you. I'm still just a dinosaur over here clinging to a user-replaceable battery and an external micro-USB battery charger (no quick charging...). :(
  • Don't worry, when you buy a new phone you'll have to worry about it lol
  • Gladly i bought a bunch of Google's so called standard chargers and Benson's approved typeC cable
  • The 18W charger is fully standards compliant as are all the cables they're currently selling, and all the cables Benson has checked out... The previous nexus chargers had some issues tho, and you're phones themselves were picky but should work just fine with a good/recent charger like the 18W.
  • I agree with this this too many proprietary standards make one standard that OEM have to use.
    OEM charger can charge any phone and you don't need new chargers with new phones.
  • So, and this is an honest question; did the Note 7 use approved USB C specifications?
  • Not sure but it seems that it would be more of a battery issue and not a charging issue since some of the phones burst into flames while off
  • You do know that once the phone was in a race condition that the battery could pop and catch fire whether it was turned on or just powered down .. right? So yes, the charging method could have FUBAR'd the battery. I'm not say it did but it is very, very possible. So a standard charging method is preferable.
  • No, it didn't. But it's incredibly unlikely that had anything to do with its battery issue.
  • Nope.
  • Is that "Nope" saying "Nope, the N7 did not adhere to standards", or was it nope to something else and I'm just missing it ;)
    I was just asking about the N7 because, although I suspect it was a battery or battery confinement issue, it is possible for improper charging to compromise a battery and degrade it's reliability or safety.
  • I think manufacturers use proprietary standards in an attempt to sell more accessories. That way they cut out these 3rd party cables unless they pay licensing fees. There's no reason to complicate standards unless you want more money Google is doing the right thing. Keep it simple stupid
  • http://www.usb.org/developers/powerdelivery/ is a link to the USB Standard. It is designed to provide up to 100 Watts of energy. There is no reason for any other delivery method if it was simply followed. The other standards came about because the original USB spec was never intended to be charging standard. USB C finally fixed this as it can truely do it.
  • Just drop the aluminium phones and put Qi wireless charging in every phone.
    Problem solved.
  • Man I hate wireless charging
  • This is a good thing.
  • No-one wants a device that charges as slow as a Nexus 6p or Google Pixel. Gtfo Google
  • No ones wants a device that burns up your electronics or catches fire. Come back Google!
  • And thankfully you don't NEED to burn up or catch fire to be faster and cooler than the 6P...hence several of the other alternatives.
  • The Pixel charges plenty fast.
  • That's not the point.
  • It kinda is. Where did you see someone take temp readings of a charging Pixel btw, I'm genuinely curious.
  • In person side by side comparison via ampere with a co worker.
  • I've done charging temperature tests as well... what was the peak temperature for the Pixel during charging?
  • What do y'all bet the standard would be made just fine by Qualcomm paying $50/chip tribute to Google
  • You do understand Google doesn't stand to profit from this? It isn't their standard, it's that of the USB consortium. Google are just trying to enforce it. And believe it or not, it's for your benefit.
  • Google didn't create the standard, you do realize that right? The USB-IF consortium did, and most major OEM signed off on it even if some later turned their back on it to milk a few licensing fees on proprietary specs. Google isn't making anything off the standard, you're angrily pointing the finger at the wrong culprit.
  • Good. Someone needs to clean this mess up. Dash charge on my phone works very well... It's probably the best on the market electrically in my opinion... But I'd give it up for a slightly slower standard that works with every phone.
  • I thought the advantage of Android over iOS is the open nature of the "ecosystem"
  • I am in favor of phones supporting the USB standard. They can also support something faster or better if they want to, but the USB-C standard should be supported as a baseline.
  • What's going on here is that the industry has decided on a rapid charing standard for phones, and Google doesn't like it. So they're trying to be Apple, and dictate their preference. Not gonna work. Anyone remember the S100 bus? Microchannel vs PCI? The industry doesn't like to be dictated to by a single company, and tends to fight back.
  • You couldn't be more wrong... The industry is being pushed around by one company but it's Qualcomm, who shoehorned a non standards compliant spec unto a standard port for no reason other than to make a quick buck on licencing fees. Qualcomm QC charge isn't as safe, only works with their SoC, requires licensing fees, and isn't as versatile (certainly wrong e charge an Intel or Apple laptop at up to 100W like USB PD can). The INDUSTRY actually already decided on a standard, guess what it's called? USB Power Delivery. Most major OEM signed off on it regardless of what they later did (mostly because they were using Qualcomm SoCs, on phones at least). Hell, even the likes of Apple, MS, and Dell are already using PD.
  • Qualcomm gives free licensing of the technology with their CPUs, and the supporting hardware is built in. Also, the INDUSTRY implemented it and chose it long before USB-PD was even around. So go take your Preparation H and go back to spamming posts on AP.
  • Resorting to personal attacks, classy, I've been reading AC from day 1 and only recently started reading AP btw. Apparently your argument is we should be solely beholden to Qualcomm SoC from now until forever? What about laptops? What about tablets? Batteries? What about the next time we have an 810 debacle?
  • Would like to add a bit of info. My mom's Zenfone 2 enabled QC 2.0 on my Anker wallwart. Yeah, it's the Intel model.
  • I don't know much about all the fast charging methods but it doesn't seem to me that is Google/Android's place in the market to determine. I'm sure they can in OS somehow but it seems beyond the scope of what they should be meddling in.
  • They're meddling, to an extent, but they're not trying to call the shots over the standard... They're simply urging OEM to use the perfectly good, open, versatile standard that those very OEM cooperated in creating... Before running off in other directions to use proprietary specs simply because it was convenient or profitable on the short term. The market players already agreed on a standard, a proprietary spec that only works with one player's SoC or one OEM's phones is the antithesis of a standard.
  • I wonder if these fast charging technologies used by the different mfg's has any impact on battery life in the phones. Google knows that more and more manufacturers are going with non-removable batteries. They know what they need to do on the software side of things to ensure good charging and battery life in Android phones. By placing standards like this they can start to maintain the seriously fragmented ecosystem that is Android.
  • They should prioritize standardizing security patches and O's updates before this. That would be far more beneficial to the user.
  • Actually, I would prefer if we have a wallwart that's a lot like DASH/VOOC, where the cooling stuff and power IC are. The reason why is because that allows the phone to charge at max speed without generating a lot of heat as the heat-generating components are in the wallwart itself. Make it USB-PD compatible and you have my money.
  • Finally another voice of reason on here.
  • I would so have that. Too bad it's super-proprietary. I mean, it's a great idea. Why can't we all have it? Faster charging that doesn't heat up the battery as much. And as we know, batteries hate heat.
  • It's like I mentioned to another on this thread: We know for fact it's faster.
    We know for fact it keeps the device cooler. It does these both better than Google's offerings that adhere to spec. Is there a shred of evidence that dash is unsafe? No. Which begs the question: Why sacrifice speed and efficiency in the name of safety when others have figured out how to have both?
  • The only issue with DASH is that it's proprietary. VERY proprietary. Someone needs to make something similar that's USB-PD compatible. An 18W USB-C wallwart that has a design similar to VOOC/DASH in its wallwart would theoretically mean a compliant charger that also charges a devices at top speed for longer as it's not affected by heat as much, not to mention the reduced heat strain on the battery would make it happier. I mean, that's a great idea. Why hasn't anyone thought of it before Oppo?
  • Exactly. I feel it would take another company stepping up and emulating this since that's more likely than a sudden act of benevolence on oppo's part.
  • I'd like to see that someday. Maybe it's an impossibility unless Oppo opens it up. On a side note, I noticed something odd with the Motorola TurboPower chargers. Before the Moto Z and USB-C, they seemed like they were following Qualcomm Quick Charge (varying voltage). But with the Moto Z and the newer USB-C wallwarts, they seem to be doing it differently. My 15W wallwart, for instance, is 5V 3A.
  • That moto z charger sounds familiar to this OP3 owners ampere readings lol.
  • Yeah. It's interesting. According to Ry, connecting a USB-PD wallwart or any other 5V/3A wallwart triggers TurboPower. I also tried plugging mine into a Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging battery bank and it drew 1.5A max. Hmmmmm, maybe it IS actually USB-PD, but for some reason, Motorola calls it TurboPower.
  • Pump express? Lol what.
  • I'm glad Google is calling out proprietary charging methods. Cables and chargers should be interchangeable.