The buzz keeps getting bigger and bigger. USB is out, USB PD is in. USB Power Delivery (PD) is set to be the new standard for the next generation of USB, working with standard specifications set to start taking effect as early as 2014. This technology may very well change the way we power electronics, basically because of its primary ability to output up to 100 watts of power, 10 times that of today’s current best in regular old USB technology.
The original invention of USB was not meant to charge up rechargeable batteries. Instead it was made by Intel’s Ajay Bhatt to permit universal connectivity between tech devices. Remember the last time you plugged in a mouse or a keyboard with a cord other than a USB plug? With USB PD, devices will be able to plug in and utilize all of the benefits of standards USB, but with 10x the power. This updated USB specification technology also has the ability to run power in both directions. This means potentially you will be able to power your laptop up with a smartphone as well as the other way around (at the same time).
Although the ability to shift between various voltages was (and in most cases still is) a feature that most devices still make use of today, it’s the Direct Current that USB takes advantage of. Solar panels also work with DC power, and the power converters you use to plug into your normal wall sockets convert power from AC to DC before it hits your smartphone. There’s a massive amount of inefficiency in this system – you’ve likely felt it in the power converter between the wall and your laptop. Things can get pretty hot temperature wise – that’s lost energy, and something USB PD will be making better use of in the process of conversion.
“Power Delivery is designed to co-exist with standard USB Battery Charging implementations. Implementers should note that if they include battery charging capability in their devices or support for host adapters such as docks or ACAs they should also reference the Battery Charging Specification. Compliance testing for products conforming to the Power Delivery Specification and the related Power Delivery icons are currently under development.” – USB.ORG
So when will we start to see USB PD cords, converters, and everything in-between? We will, more than likely, see them beginning in late 2014, early 2015, but only time will tell.