The Next Android Update May Add a New Charging Standard to Your Phone

The Next Android Update May Add a New Charging Standard to Your Phone

Right now, there are two main ways to charge our devices: plug it into power, or charge it wirelessly using a Qi-enabled device. A lesser-known wireless charging standard, WLC, actually enables devices to charge over NFC—the same tech used for mobile transactions like Apple Pay and Google Pay. As it happens, Google appears to be working on bringing NFC charging to smartphones with its upcoming Android 15 update, but it’s not clear why.

Android Authority’s Mishaal Rahman discovered the feature in Android 15’s first beta, which Google released last week. Rahman noticed Google added a new class to the system app that deals with NFC: NfcCharging. If that wasn’t clear enough, Rahman found NfcCharging can start and stop charging via NFC, analyzes NFC charging info payloads, among other functions.

When would you use NFC charging?

We don’t know what the timeline would be for adding NFC charging to Android, but there’s no real reason to rush the tech at this time. Charing a device over NFC would be considerably slower than Qi wireless charging (or wired charging, of course), as the standard only supports charging up to 1W. Qi, on the other hand, has a maximum output of 15W, depending on the device and charger. It would take a long time to charge a modern smartphone via NFC. When you can fully charge a phone like the OnePlus 12 in just over a half hour, NFC charging doesn’t seem particularly practical.

However, this standard could be more useful for smaller devices that use tiny batteries—think Bluetooth trackers or styluses. While NFC charging will still be slow, it could allow companies to put rechargeable batteries in products that currently use disposable ones. Imagine your Pixel passively charging an AirTag or a Tile tracker whenever they’re next to each other, rather than throwing away the battery when it dies. If Google follows through with this tech and adds it to Android 15, it’ll be up to the marketplace to take advantage of the standard in new products.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a software update add a new wireless charging standard to smartphones. With iOS 17.2, Apple added Qi2 charging to iPhones, an improved version of Qi that allows for a magnetic connection with wireless chargers. That said, this Android update could enable NFC wireless charging from smartphones themselves, rather than allow smartphones to access a new way to charge.

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