Mobile phone charging interface may usher in a "big unification"

  How far is a set of chargers "going around the world" from us?

  At present, my country's integrated fast charging work has achieved certain results, but it still faces huge challenges.

The integrated fast charging industry should pay attention to the formulation of standards.

Increasing the promotion and implementation of standards and certification, improving technology research and development capabilities, and mastering interface and fast charging technology are effective ways for my country to promote the unification of fast charging equipment.

  ——Liang Yutong, Secretary-General of Guangdong Connector Association, Deputy Secretary-General of Guangdong Wire and Cable Industry Association

  ◎Our reporter Tang Fang

  The news that Apple 15 (iPhone15) may be equipped with a USB-C charging port is on the hot search again.

At present, there are two mainstream charging interfaces in the world. The Android platform has basically completed the unification of the USB-C interface, and Apple is the only mobile phone brand that insists on using the Lightning interface.

  Is a global unified charging interface feasible?

Does the unified charging interface mean that we can use one charging head and one charging cable to solve the problem of fast charging (hereinafter referred to as fast charging) of all mobile smart devices?

How far do we have to go to achieve this goal?

On March 1, a reporter from Science and Technology Daily interviewed relevant experts.

  Small interface sets off a "storm" in the accessories market

  In October 2022, the European Council approved the "Unified charging interface within the EU" bill, which stipulates that electronic devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and digital cameras sold in the EU from 2024 must use the USB-C interface uniformly.

  "According to the new EU regulations, Apple's Lightning interface will no longer be applicable to the EU's electronic equipment market." Xiang Ligang, chairman of the Zhongguancun Information Consumption Alliance, told the reporter of Science and Technology Daily that the change of the iPhone 15 interface means that Apple mobile phones will be sold to GM. further transformation.

However, it is not ruled out that the iPhone 15 series that may be released this fall will launch "EU Special Edition" products, or avoid interface restrictions by accelerating wireless charging.

  Xiang Ligang said that the unified charging interface is USB-C, which will reduce thousands of tons of electronic waste every year and promote the reuse of chargers.

  Liang Yutong, secretary-general of Guangdong Connector Association and deputy secretary-general of Guangdong Wire and Cable Industry Association, said that compared with USB-C interface, Apple Lightning interface has outstanding problems such as slow transmission rate, unsatisfactory fast charging speed, and poor device compatibility.

Since its launch in 2015, USB-C has become the interface of choice for manufacturers of mainstream mobile phones, consumer electronics, and personal computers around the world. It has the advantages of small size, reversible insertion, fast transmission, strong signal capability, and good compatibility. .

  Specifically, although the Apple Lightning interface supports reversible insertion, only 8 pins work, and the maximum current it can withstand is only 3 amperes (A), and the upper limit of charging power is 33 watts (W).

At present, the gallium nitride chargers that are in the limelight on the market have a charging power of 40-120W.

  Liang Yutong introduced that the charging interface of mobile devices is not uniform, which first brings trouble and inconvenience to consumers.

Secondly, because the Apple Lightning interface data cable standard is not public, companies can only produce under the authorization of Apple, which has low autonomy and low product transparency.

Finally, my country has no way to start the quality supervision of this kind of data line products, which belongs to the blind spot of quality supervision.

  If the Apple mobile phone is replaced with a USB-C interface, will the MFI system of the original Lightning interface also fail?

  "It is technically feasible to unify the charging interface of smart devices." Liang Yutong said that the industry generally believes that the MFI certification of Apple's mobile phone data lines brings it huge profits every year. If charging products can be used universally, it will inevitably affect Apple's accessories sales. .

  It is estimated that Apple earns billions of dollars every year relying on its "unique" Lightning charging cable and MFI certification.

  Xiang Ligang believes that there is a high probability that Apple will combine the MFI chip with USB-C to make a USB-C authentication chip.

If the mobile phone wants to charge at full speed, it is still necessary to purchase original or authorized third-party charging accessories.

"The interface can be unified, but a lock must be added to prevent other USB-C charging cables from being adapted to Apple products."

  Private agreement makes it difficult to unify chargers

  It is reported that even if the charging interface is unified, the difference in the fast charging protocol will make it difficult to realize fast charging for all electronic devices with one charging head and one charging cable.

  The reporter went to Xiaomi's offline store and learned that the fast charging protocol of Xiaomi 13Pro shows that the charging power is 120W, and it only takes 19 minutes to fully charge.

When using the charger of this mobile phone to charge other brand mobile phones such as vivo and OPPO, it will take at least 1 hour to fully charge.

  Liang Yutong pointed out that with the same USB-C charging interface, the fast charging technologies of various companies still have problems of incompatibility and incompatibility. For example, the fast charging power of OPPO mobile phones is 100W, while the fast charging power of Xiaomi mobile phones may only reach 10W. charging power.

The reason is that in recent years, various brand manufacturers have blossomed and formed a variety of fast charging standards and protocols.

  For example, Huawei adopts SC/FCP fast charging technology, in which the FCP protocol adopts the "high-voltage low-current" scheme, and the SCP protocol adopts the "low-voltage high-current" scheme.

Vivo uses FlashCharge flash charging technology to achieve shorter charging time through higher charging power.

  "Because each charger and charging cable is independently developed, and the charging technology and components are different, all major mobile phone brands have launched their own private protocols, which eventually lead to incompatible charging protocols." Liang Yutong said. When using other brands of chargers, they can only charge with low power, which seriously affects the user's fast charging experience, and at the same time increases the risk and cost of R&D upstream and downstream of the industry chain.

  "The incompatibility of the fast charging protocol means that in order to obtain the fast charging effect calibrated by the mobile phone manufacturer, a specific charging head and data cable must be used." Xiang Ligang told reporters that this has caused users to replace the original charging device after replacing the device. Most of the headers and data lines are idle, causing huge waste.

"It is necessary to unify the fast charging protocol and realize the compatibility of fast charging among various manufacturers." He emphasized.

  Xiang Ligang suggested that to promote the green transformation of the industry, it is necessary to speed up the unification of charging interface standards, fast charging technology, and fast charging standards, and speed up the construction of a waste charger recycling system.

  Cross-brand fast charging of mobile phones accelerates popularization

  The reporter learned that our country is accelerating the work of integrating fast charging, and has achieved phased results through the efforts of all parties.

  Liang Yutong introduced that the 2022 version of the Fusion Fast Charging Certification Standard (UFCS) formulated by my country has been released, and the first batch of 15 fast charger products have obtained Fusion Fast Charging Certification, covering three categories: mobile phones, chargers, and fast charging chips.

  It is reported that UFCS is a new generation of integrated fast charging protocol jointly completed by ICT Institute, Huawei, OPPO, vivo, Xiaomi, and a number of terminal and other enterprises and industries. It aims to solve the complex and changeable fast charging standards on the market. Incompatibility issues.

  "UFCS integrates the fast charging protocol to become a common fast charging standard, which can help realize the unification of the fast charging market." Liang Yutong said that as my country's leading fast charging technical specification, UFCS has a higher performance limit and compatibility, and the purpose is to achieve cross-border charging. Brand high-power fast charging.

  A reporter from Science and Technology Daily learned from offline stores of Huawei and Xiaomi that, as chargers that have passed the fusion fast charging certification, Huawei’s P0013 switch adapter and Xiaomi’s MDY-14-ET power adapter have already been listed for retail or sold as supporting electronic products.

  Liang Yutong pointed out that UFCS integrated fast charging is accelerating its popularization to the user level, making cross-brand high-power fast charging possible. It is believed that more and more fast charger products will join the camp of integrated fast charging in the future.

  "At present, my country's integrated fast charging work has achieved certain results, but it still faces huge challenges." Liang Yutong suggested that the integrated fast charging industry should pay attention to the formulation of standards, "intensify the promotion and implementation of standards and certification, and enhance the strength of technology research and development. Mastering the interface and fast charging technology is an effective way for my country to promote the unification of fast charging equipment."

(Science and Technology Daily)