Google has traditionally taken a hands-off approach when it comes to hardware for Android devices, which is why the latest addition to the Android Compatibility Definition Document was such a surprise. The company has added an entire section “strongly recommending” against the use of third party and proprietary charging standards.
The section is assumed to be aimed squarely at Qualcomm Quick Charge. The technology allows batteries to be charged faster than ever over a USB Type-C connection. However, Qualcomm’s Type-C cables operate on a slightly different standard from the regular cable; which is what Google is trying to put a stop to.
Ideally, USB Type-C represents the start of a new singular standard for everyone to adopt. This can only happen if manufacturers refrain from tinkering with proprietary cables and connectors.
“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.”
Google’s document is largely used as a guideline for manufacturers to provide some semblance of a consistent Android experience. Of course, there is nothing stopping them from deviating from the recommendations. However, doing so many force Google to take drastic steps to standardise USB Type-C connections.
The language used in the document implies that this is a serious situation, and that the recommendation may be turned into a requirement.