Starting next year, some smartphone owners could begin using quick-charging technology that will give their devices a five-hour energy boost in just five minutes, according to Qualcomm Technologies. The newly unveiled Quick Charge 4 will arrive on the market in the first half of 2017, the same time that new devices start coming out with Qualcomm's next-generation Snapdragon 835 processor.
Qualcomm released the first version of Quick Charge in early 2013, eight months after its acquisition of circuit-maker Summit Microelectronics, which developed the technology. The 3.0 version of its quick-charging technology is currently incorporated into more than three dozen smartphones, including the Asus ZenFone 3, the HTC 10 and the LG V20, and many more devices support Quick Charge 2.0.
Compared to Quick Charge 3.0, the version coming out in 2017 will speed up charging of compatible devices by as much as 20 percent and improve efficiency by up to 30 percent, Qualcomm said. The company added that Quick Charge 4 will also improve safety by preventing battery overcharging and overheating, with charging temperatures that are up to 5 degrees Celsius cooler.
Growing Demand for Faster Charging
"Think of all the times you only had five minutes to charge, but that didn't give your phone enough juice to get to the next charge," Geoff Gorgon, staff manager for product marketing, wrote today on Qualcomm's Snapdragon blog. "Five extra hours of battery life can get you there and further. Have more time? Quick Charge 4 is engineered to charge a typical smartphone from zero to 50 percent in about 15 minutes or less."
Gordon cited a study done earlier this year by the Chinese market research firm Sino-MR that found 60 percent of smartphone buyers take fast-charging capabilities into account when shopping for their next devices. He added that similar research by Qualcomm found that more than one-fourth of consumers believe it currently takes too long to charge their phones. "Qualcomm Quick Charge is specifically engineered to solve this problem," Gordon said.
Among the improvements arriving with Quick Charge 4 will be support for both USB Type-C and higher-power USB Power Delivery connectors, an assortment of advanced Battery Saver safety features and dual charge via a second integrated circuit for power management that improves thermal balancing and efficiency, Gordon said. The new Quick Charge will also feature version three of Qualcomm's Intelligent Negotiation for Optimum Voltage that helps to optimize power transfers.
Extended Partnership with Samsung
The Snapdragon 835 processor set to hit the market next year will be produced with the help of a new manufacturing technology from Samsung. Announced last month, the technology is an industry-first that allows mass production of system-on-chip (SoC) products with 10-nanometer processing, according to Samsung.
"Using the new 10nm process node is expected to allow our premium tier Snapdragon 835 processor to deliver greater power efficiency and increase performance while also allowing us to add a number of new capabilities that can improve the user experience of tomorrow's mobile devices," Keith Kressin, Qualcomm's senior vice president of product management, said today in a statement.
Samsung's new 10-nanometer process uses a technology called FinFET (Fin Field Effect Transistor) to minimize the typical performance-versus-power tradeoff in processor manufacturing. Compared to a similar process used to produce its previous 14-nanometer SoCs, the 10-nanometer process increases area efficiency by as much as 30 percent while either boosting performance by up to 27 percent or reducing power consumption by as much as 40 percent.
"This collaboration is an important milestone for our foundry business as it signifies confidence in Samsung's leading chip process technology," Jong Shik Yoon, executive vice president and head of Samsung's foundry business, said in a statement.
The partnership also offers a bright spot for Samsung in the wake of this year's disastrous Galaxy Note 7 release, recall and manufacturing halt. Launched with great acclaim in August, the Note 7 was quickly linked to numerous battery-related fires and could ultimately hurt Samsung's bottom line by more than $5 billion.