Qualcomm is entering the race to offer the fastest charging solution for mobile devices. Today, the San Diego, California-based company is announcing Qualcomm Quick Charge 5 as the world’s fastest commercial charging solution. After Oppo announced its own proprietary 125W SuperVOOC fast charging this month, Qualcomm is introducing QC5 with support for more than 100W charging power. With Quick Charge 5, Qualcomm says smartphone users will be able to charge their devices from 0 to 50 percent in just five minutes. Yes, you read that right – just five minutes.
Qualcomm Quick Charge 5 aims to make charging really fast
In the past five years, smartphones have evolved extensively and have become the primary computing device for a lot of users. They are the devices we use to communicate, play games and even engage in financial transactions. With the advancement of smartphones, consumers are spending more time using them and thus draining the battery faster. While the usage has increased, the battery technology has not necessarily kept pace. As a result, smartphone makers have resorted to faster charging solutions as the way forward.
With Quick Charge 5, Qualcomm wants to reduce the time spent near the charging outlet. Qualcomm says QC5 will fully charge a 4,000mAh battery in just 15 minutes. In comparison, Oppo claimed that its 125W fast charger will be able to fully charge a 4,000mAh battery in 20 minutes. Qualcomm also notes that QC5 is up to 70 percent more efficient than its predecessor. While Oppo claims to have licensed the technology to 23 companies, Qualcomm already has a big roster of companies that license its quick charging technology.
While we initially saw more current being driven through battery cells for fast-charging, now the companies are increasing the voltage. With Quick Charge 5, companies will be able to design power delivery of 20 Volts or higher. It brings 10 times the power delivery of Quick Charge 1 and charges up to four times faster than the previous generation. If you are a consumer, you would be wondering whether charging at such fast speeds is safe. Qualcomm says Quick Charge 5 will continue to offer industry standards of 500 to 800 recharge cycles.
Impact on battery
In other words, your smartphone’s battery performance is not likely to breach 80 percent of performance at least for the first two years. Qualcomm says Quick Charge 5 also incorporates 12 separate voltage, current and temperature protections. It also includes USB-input overvoltage protection at 25V and external power controls beyond 30W. Quick Charge 5 enables Dual/Triple Charge technology, adaptive input voltage, INOV4 and runs 10 degrees Celsius cooler than Quick Charge 4. Qualcomm is also introducing new measures to ensure safety and authenticity of its quick charging solution.
“Quick Charge 5, our fastest and most versatile charging solution, will enable consumers to enjoy their devices for longer periods of time, without worrying about the time required to recharge. We are proud to expand our technology portfolio and make accessible 100W+ charging a commercial reality,” said Ev Roach, VP Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “We work closely with manufacturers to create industry-leading devices that meet consumers’ demand for more immersive and accessible mobile experiences.”
Smart Identification of Adapter Capabilities technology
The Quick Charge 5 supports Qualcomm Battery Saver and this year, it is introducing Smart Identification of Adapter Capabilities technology. The latter will make it easier to identify authentic QC5 adapters and other solutions. “Actually the issue is not counterfeit QC-certified adapters (there are always some but we are policing the ecosystem very closely) but non-QC adapters. With accessories you will always have issues of non-compatibility, especially with USB PD which is expensive and complicated, and providers will try to reduce cost by not supporting all the required features or specifications,” George Paparrizos, Senior Director of Product Management, Qualcomm, told BGR India.
Qualcomm says these two technologies “work together to maximize power transfer efficiency, increase safety and help extend the battery life cycle on a users’ device.” Alongside QC5, the company is also introducing Qualcomm SMB1396 and Qualcomm SMB1398 as two new premium tier power management ICs (PMIC).
These new PMICs support 1SnP and 2SnP batteries, wired and wireless input paths, adaptive operation based on the power source and scalability. Qualcomm SMB1396 and Qualcomm SMB1398 are engineered to provide maximum efficiency above 98 percent, according to the company. The Quick Charge technology is available on more than 1,200 mobile devices, accessories and controllers. It remains a popular fast charging standard and QC5 uses USB-PD as a communication protocol. It is backwards compatible with Quick Charge 2.0, 3,0, 4 and 4+. Your existing Snapdragon-powered smartphone will be able to charge using QC5.
Wider availability of Quick Charge technology
Qualcomm says Quick Charge 5 is currently sampling with customers and will appear on commercial devices in the third quarter of this year. It is supported on Snapdragon 865, Snapdragon 865 Plus and future premium and high-tier Snapdragon mobile platforms. Xiaomi is going to be one of the OEMs supporting QC5 later this year. However, we are likely to see most smartphone makers offer their own proprietary solution. Paparrizos says Qualcomm is fine with it till the time they offer USB PD control.
“As long as OEMs support a USB PD protocol, in addition to their proprietary method, the same accessories can be used by consumers and get a similar experience which is good for the market. However, we believe consumers benefit most from a large and compatible ecosystem which allows them to use a wide range of accessories. That’s why we make Quick Charge broadly available to all of our OEMs,” he said.
With the debut of QC5, we will see the transition to stacked or two cell in series battery design on premium phones. With support for higher charging speed, the batteries cannot provide higher energy density and OEMs are likely to bring new innovation to that front. “The battery vendors have made a lot of progress in many areas. There are improvements in cycle life, energy density, charge rates and other KPIs. The performance gains may not be very high but they are consistent and this is what enables the mobile industry to offer new mobile devices great consumer experience,” Paparrizos added. However, this new technology does not answer how fast is too fast for charging mobile devices.