As anyone who’s ordered a bargain-basement screen protector from a dodgy manufacturer can tell you, third-party smartphone accessories are fraught with peril. It’s tough — if not impossible) — to judge quality from an online product listing, and even tougher to get your money back when said product doesn’t work as advertised. But according to a report from 9to5Google, Google is working on a solution that will make those accessory woes a thing of the past.
The Mountain View, California-based company is preparing to launch a certification program for third-party accessories, according to the publication’s sources. It’s called Made for Google, and it will reportedly denote cables, cases, and other accessories that have undergone thorough quality assurance testing.
It’s said to be similar to Apple’s MFi (Made for i), which provides iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch accessory manufacturers “hardware components, tools, documentation, and technical support in exchange for guaranteeing certain baseline requirements.” Case makers that are a part of Apple’s MFi certification program must create products that protect devices from drops up to a meter (3.3 feet) onto a hard surface, for example, and Lightning connector producers must use approved chips and materials.
Many of Made for Google’s details remain a mystery, but at least one part of the program will have to do with “USB-C charging consistency and compliance,” according to 9to5Google.
Update: Unverified tipster tells us that a big part of Made for Google is USB-C charging consistency and compliance https://t.co/HQ8HDeW1oU
— Stephen Hall (@hallstephenj) October 2, 2017
Given Google’s history with rogue charging cables, that’s not terribly surprising. Last year, the search giant updated its Android Compatibility Definition Document (CCD) — the list of rules to which Android phone manufacturers agree to adhere — with language discouraging the use of “proprietary charging methods” that “[don’t] support full interchangeability with standard type-C chargers.” And shortly after the launch of Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, Benson Leung, a senior software engineer at Google, wrote highly detailed Amazon reviews of USB-C cables “from third-party vendors that so blatantly flaunt the specification.”
Made for Google’s timing is no accident. At an event on Wednesday, October 4, Google is expected to announce a slew of new products including two new smartphones (the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL), a miniature version of its AI-powered Google Home speaker (Google Home mini), and a high-end Chromebook (the Pixelbook). Given the flood of new products, new certified accessories only makes sense.
Since 9to5Google wasn’t able to nail down Made for Google’s launch date, it warns that the specifics are subject to change. But it’s a likely shoo-in for Google’s October 4 festivities — perhaps ahead of an accessories rollout later this year.
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