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Home / Technology / Counterclockwise: Wireless charging came first, but fast charging via cable is more popular

Counterclockwise: Wireless charging came first, but fast charging via cable is more popular



The Palm Pre was ahead of its time – introducing the mobile world to wireless charging. Unfortunately, despite all its innovations, the phone has not caught up. In fact, manufacturers would ignore wireless charging until 2013 when they started to operate the device more actively.

The "fast" charging with cable was born relatively late in the game – 2014. There is no fixed definition of the term, so we count phones that can go beyond the 10 watts provided by simple USB.

We've already recorded the battle between wireless charging standards. Spoiler: Qi from the Wireless Power Consortium finally came out victorious. On the wired front, there were two early players.

  Sony Xperia Z2
  HTC One (M8)
  Xiaomi Mi 4
  Oppo Find 7

Sony Xperia Z2 • HTC One (M8) • Xiaomi Mi 4 • Oppo Find 7

Qualcomm introduced Quick Charge 2.0 with its Snapdragon 800 chipset (and other family chips). It was based on up to 18 watts, although 15 watts were by far the more popular option (still today). Phones like the Sony Xperia Z2, the HTC One (M8), the LG G4 and the Xiaomi Mi 4 were among the first to feature QC2.0.

In the other corner was the Oppo Find 7, the first phone with VOOC charging that ran at 20W. Impressive for the beginning of 2014, considering that some of today's most expensive flagships are only up to 15W (we look at you, Apple and Samsung).

Despite an early start, charging wireless material was slowly gaining popularity. As you can see in the table below, fast charging via cable has quickly overtaken and is used today by the most popular phones.

Of course, flagship ships today often offer both wireless and fast charging, but that's a relatively new development that started last year. The fast wireless charging has also gained traction. We did not include it in the chart because there really is only one relevant data point, but since this year, the most popular mobile phones with wireless charging can go above 10W.

Huawei and Samsung lead the charge to 15W of fast wireless charging, although the Galaxy maker lags behind in terms of wired charging speeds (25W vs. 40W). These two devices are also among the first to implement wireless reverse charging (Huawei with the Mate 20 Pro last year, Samsung with the Galaxy S10 this year).

In fact, some brands share technologies (like Oppo, vivo, and OnePlus, as with Huawei and Honor), the standards for fast wired charging are pretty much broken. The USB-IF tries to put everyone under the USB Power Delivery banner, but the only notable success so far is the compatible Quick Charge 4.0+.

In the end, this competition seems to have been a good thing – the WPC Qi Charging was almost unchallenged (as the PMA competition started to explode quickly), charging the wireless store was slow.


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