The IEC standard for mobile phones is based on USB, specifically the USB Battery Charging standard. A year or so ago, USB-IF introduced USB Power Delivery (USB PD), which allows for up to 100W over USB. A few weeks ago, USB-IF announced the "Type C" connector, which is a more modern slim-line connector for use on PCs and peripherals. Will the IEC universal charger for notebook computers build on that or replace it? The language in the press release suggests that it will compete with it (emphasis added):
Even though some organizations are discussing and examining the merits of a universal power adapter covering numerous ICT (Information and Communication Technology) devices, due to the technical realities, this is likely still a long way from being achievable. Therefore, rather than chasing a dream that remains out of reach today, the IEC has leveraged its global technical expertise to bring concrete solutions to the market place.
If this spec is based on USB PD, it's great for USB PD. If not, it both removes an important use case for USB PD, and also may challange one of the justifications for the new Type C connector.
so much agree that these chargers create quite a e-waste. I have a dozen charger lying in my home and ts difficult to know its for which device. For PCs and laptops f there is a single charger the waste can be reduced by quite a big number.
The 10000m view is that USB PD is based on a progammable power supply, 5V/12V/20V and 1A/3A/5A complicating both power and device. USB Battery Charging was based on a simple standard power supply, makes the phone power design somewhat more tricky but still doable for the power levels needed.
Big question is if this effort will standardize on for instance 19V/3A and have the PC live with these limitations. Or if they go the USB PD route. In that case both the power supply and the PC will become more expensive and I don't think it will happen unless it is mandated by law.
Sorry, not clear on your comment: which cart and which horse do you have in mind?
I agree that standard chargers won't happen without a legal mandate. IEC standards do not automatically become EU or China regulations; they have to be adopted by the appropriate political bodies. Even for USB phone charging, that was required. Some manufacturers were doing USB charging before the legal mandate, because it allowed them to ship phones w/o chargers, reducing overall cost (even though it made the phone a bit more expensive). Others (the market leaders) stuck with their proprietary chargers because they had more control, and the ecosystem costs of changing outweighed the benefits of standardization.
Anyway, my comment was more about the potential horse race between specs (to extend your metaphor). Despite the cost issues, Intel has been investing in USB PD, and has been showing Ultrabook demos (through USB-IF, I hasten to add -- I don't know of any product demos). If IEC does not use USB PD as the basis, then there may be some interesting battles as regulators consider which (if any) spec to mandate.
Apple MacBook has pretty nifty charger. Size, quality and connecteors are quite innovative and user friendly. Does new IEC spec allows to include similar technology? I wish IEC also include industry players for their feedback.
No doubt, this is a challenge. To accomplish true universal, not only does the DC output voltage requires to be specified but also the charging connector. Macbook has been using the same power connector for quite sometimes until the new Macbook Pro and Macbook Air which have thinner design and which require a skinner charging connector. In addition, what about output wattage. When consumer reads universal, they are going to believe they can use an "old" power supply which is designed for regular laptop to power up a powerful gaming laptop. Challenges, I believe, include
1) What kind of information shall be printed on the power supply so that regular consumers will pick it up and understand easily?
2) What's the process of agreeing the connector of the power supply? If computer makers don't come to an agreement, what's the alternative?
3) Weight could be a categorization method to put laptop into different power rating. Could actual power consumption be used instead?
I have build my own desktop way back and I always wonder why laptop can't have a universal power supply. There seems to be more challenges. Nonetheless, I believe the move will not only reduce e-waste but also make consumers life easier.
It sounds like the housefull of power adapters will gain at least one more - the "Universal" one. I wonder whether computer companies will agree upon a voltage standard or whether the power adapter will be "intelligent" enough to adapt to each device that it is connected to. Certainly the problem of multiple adapters and the need to sort out which is which will be a treat to get past.