Skip to main content

New Android phones must support USB-C PD and Digital Wellbeing, Google says

According to a document acquired by XDA Developers, Google is now requiring that Android manufacturers support its Digital Wellbeing suite and the universal standard for fast charging, USB-C Power Delivery (PD), in any future Android devices.

The new requirements will apply to any manufacturer looking to use the Google Mobile Services (GMS) package — which, since GMS includes the Google Play Store and all of Google’s services, applies to pretty much every manufacturer outside of the Chinese market. While companies won’t necessarily have to worry about updating their entire backlog of phones to accommodate Google’s demands, every new Android device will be required to follow the new rule, and so will all phones updated to Android 9.0 Pie and Android 10 after September 3, 2019.

android 9 pie digital wellbeing
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The addition of Digital Wellbeing — which includes tools to monitor screen time and app usage, and colored filters to reduce blue light exposure — shouldn’t upset anyone. However, the requirement for USB-C PD is likely to be an unwelcome one for any manufacturer packing its own method of fast charging.

USB-C PD is an open standard for fast charging, and has been included in Google’s Pixel phones since the line was introduced. However, many other manufacturers have deliberately avoided the standard, opting instead to develop their own methods for fast charging. While these proprietary methods can be faster than the speeds allowed by USB-C PD, it does mean such fast charging is limited to specific chargers — most usually the chargers that came in the box. OnePlus’ Warp Charge is particularly well known for this, but it’s certainly not alone. This new rule won’t ban proprietary charging methods — it will just mean that anyone with a USB-C PD charger will be able to fast charge their device without the manufacturer’s proprietary charger.

This hasn’t come out of nowhere, and manufacturers have likely been expecting this for some time. According to the article on XDA Developers, Google has been making recommendations that Android phones ditch proprietary charging methods and adopt the USB-C PD standard since the release of Android 7.0 Nougat in 2016. It seems Google is done sending out polite recommendations though, and is playing hardball. The message is fairly clear: Play by Google’s rules, or don’t play with Google’s ball.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Jansen
Mark Jansen is an avid follower of everything that beeps, bloops, or makes pretty lights. He has a degree in Ancient &…
When is my phone getting Android 14? Here’s everything we know
Android 14 logo on the Google Pixel 8 Pro.

Android 14 is out now, and as usual, the first to get it was Google's own Pixel phone family. Not to be undone, Samsung pushed out its version of Android 14 — One UI 6 — after a relatively short beta period and has seemingly now completed its Android 14 rollout. Nothing, the new phone company on the block, has done the same. Now, we're just waiting for more news from Motorola, who has become the stick in the mud holding everyone up.

If you're rocking an Android phone that is still stuck on an old build, here's everything we know about official Android 14 rollout plans for all major brands available in the U.S. market. We recommend using your device's Find on page function to pinpoint your device on this list.

Read more
Have a Google Pixel phone? You’re about to get these new features
A person holding the Google Pixel 8 Pro.

One of the great things about Google’s Pixel phones is how often the company sweetens the pot with its Pixel Feature Drops. While they’re not always the most exciting updates, every so often, we get some pleasant surprises; this month’s Feature Drop fits into that latter category with some new goodies that will be of particular interest to owners of phones in the recent Google Pixel 7 and Google Pixel 8 lineups (and of course the Google Pixel Fold).

That doesn’t mean older Pixel phones are entirely left out of the party, though. There’s at least one helpful enhancement here for the Pixel 6 and even some smaller improvements that go back to the Pixel 5a. Let's dig into everything that's new.
New features coming to Pixel phones
Circle to Search Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Read more
Google just announced 8 big Android updates. Here’s what’s new
A photo of many Android figurines on a white wall.

At Moblie World Congress (MWC ) 2024, Google is bringing a healthy bunch of new features to Android. In line with the AI push all across the industry, some notable AI-driven enhancements are on the table. There are also a handful of core Android features that sound practically amazing.
The first in line is Gemini. The generative AI chatbot recently got a standalone app for Android, and now it’s headed for the Google Messages app. Users can chat with Gemini directly in the messaging app and use its generative capabilities for a host of things, like drafting replies, refining a message, and more.

Another feature that was showcased a while ago is finally ready for prime time. Android Auto is gaining support for message summarization for standalone texts and group chats, and it can also suggest replies. With a single tap, users will also be able to drop a message, start a call, and share an estimated arrival time. The idea is to deploy AI for crucial tasks so that it can minimize distractions while driving.
Lookout, an accessibility-centric feature for users with vision challenges, is also getting meaningful AI love. On Android phones, Lookout will now read AI-generated captions and descriptions for media content. For now, the AI boost to Lookout and Messages is limited to the English language.

Read more