Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0: A Meaningful Innovation Growing into a ‘Power-Packed’ Ecosystem

We are now into a Personal Computing 3.0 revolution where computing devices have become highly personal, mobile and consume more content than we could have imagined a few years ago, when consumers shared personal computers within the family to access the internet and consumed different content.

These smart devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and ultrabooks, are highly portable, personal and a default gateway to connect to the internet, cloud, media and people by leveraging millions of apps to satisfy thousands of personal use-cases. Secondly, while these devices have become smarter every year with advancement in integrated processors (e.g. Qualcomm Snapdragon), operating systems (e.g. Android, Windows Phone & others) and sensors (High Resolution Cameras, Accelerometer, Magnetometer & others), they have also become bigger (with larger displays) and faster (with 4G LTE), challenging the device’s battery power requirements with a need for a sophisticated power management system.

As a result, batteries in these devices have become bigger to allow users to be connected at least for an entire day with super-large screens and super-fast modems. However, the power management is one area where there has been limited mainstream innovation; i.e., from precise and efficient digitally controlled power regulation to quickly charging these mammoth batteries. Qualcomm, the world’s leading smart device chipset manufacturer, has capitalized on this opportunity and led to initially develop and integrate an innovative battery power management solution called Quick Charge 1.0 (QC 1.0).

QC 1.0 was initially offered only as an integrated solution (with Qualcomm Snapdragon processors) that enables smart devices to charge up to 40% faster. This technology was integrated into more than 100 top-selling Snapdragon powered smartphone models globally.

Counterpoint Research’s Model Sales Tracker Database estimates more than 52 million smart devices with Quick Charge 1.0 solutions were shipped in almost a year’s time frame. With this strong foundation and momentum, Qualcomm announced the next phase of its innovation in power management space, launching their Quick Charge 2.0 (QC 2.0) solution.

Quick Charge 2.0 Advantages, features and Opportunities

  • Faster & Efficient: Up to 75% faster than conventional charging with efficient switch-mode operation, greater thermal efficiencies and better input current optimization.
  • Lower-Cost to Add & No Electronic Waste: Already integrated in a number of current devices. Also, allows backward compatibility by using existing USB charging infrastructure thus eliminating e-waste associated with proprietary solutions.
  • Ecosystem Play: QC 2.0 is now offered as an integrated solution (residing in device as a part of PMIC in new Snapdragon 800 and future Snapdragon 600/400 processors) and also as a standalone IC solution for third party vendors to integrate on the power provider side. This will thus kickstart a wider ecosystem of silicon and accessory partners to integrate QC 2.0 technology into other devices and accessories fairly easily and quickly.
  • Targeting Different Use-Cases & Scenarios: Quick Charge 2.0 is targeted to revolutionize power management and device charging solutions in different scenarios and different verticals and opening up the technology will broaden the application use-cases and ecosystem. For example:
    • QC 2.0 in Cars: QC 2.0 capable car chargers will turbo charge Quick Charge enabled mobile devices when on the road as these smart devices, also used for navigation with GPS & Cellular data, could drain the battery faster. Users could save substantial time by charging the devices faster. We estimate Quick Charge to become a global charging & power management standard in the years to come.
    • QC 2.0 in Portable Juice Packs / Chargers: Current portable battery juice packs charge the phone with a conventional speed. Integrating QC 2.0 will help users to quickly charge their devices while on the move.
    • QC 2.0 in AC/DC Wall Chargers: The need for fast-charging wall chargers has risen dramatically with limited plug-points and many devices to charge. Consider a scenario in an airport where there is a constant struggle to charge devices quickly.  QC 2.0 can address this problem to a greater extent.

Quick Charge 2.0 Comparisons

Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 Comparison with Conventional Charging

Source: Qualcomm

Quick Charge 2.0 Platform Solution Specs & Roadmap:

Source: Qualcomm

Quick Charge 2.0 Partnerships:

Recent silicon and accessory partnerships integrating Quick Charge 2.0 platform include:

Dialog Semiconductor: iW620 is a rapid charge, AC/DC adapter interface IC

Power Integrations: CHY100 is the first AC-DC wall charger interface IC that enables designers of mobile devices to implement Qualcomm’s new Quick Charge 2.0 protocol.

Superior Communications: Quick Charge enables 12-watt rapid wall charging

Magnadyne: Demonstrated Wall chargers, Car Chargers and Juice Packs at CES.

Given the advantages of Quick Charge technology and its broad availability, many mobile device OEMs are evaluating or adopting it. Additionally, many wireless carriers support Quick Charge 2.0 and see a lot of value in terms of consumer experience and higher usability rates. We also understand that many accessory vendors are sampling the solution and we can only see this ecosystem burgeoning from here. We estimate Quick Charge 2.0 to go down the price-bands and reach mass-market this year with almost 100s of millions of Quick Charge 2.0 devices installed base over the next two years. This is a very lucrative opportunity for third-party accessory manufacturers across multiple verticals.

In summary, Qualcomm is enabling smaller sub-ecosystems, adding tremendous value on top of its advanced Snapdragon processors for smart devices, allowing many OEM partners to differentiate as well as charge a premium for the device. These innovations also address key pain-points of the end device users, allowing them to remain connected more than ever. Quick Charge 2.0 is an innovative solution that boosts the power management and charging system in smart devices and goes beyond the proprietary standards into third party charging accessories to become a quick, robust and universal charging solution. This is what we can call a meaningful innovation!!

Neil is a sought-after frequently-quoted Industry Analyst with a wide spectrum of rich multifunctional experience. He is a knowledgeable, adept, and accomplished strategist. In the last 18 years he has offered expert strategic advice that has been highly regarded across different industries especially in telecom. Prior to Counterpoint, Neil worked at Strategy Analytics as a Senior Analyst (Telecom). Neil also had an opportunity to work with Philips Electronics in multiple roles. He is also an IEEE Certified Wireless Professional with a Master of Science (Telecommunications & Business) from the University of Maryland, College Park, USA.

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