OEMs have been pretty bullish on fast charging over the years. There was a time when just 5W was the standard, and 18W was considered a very good charging speed. We now have phones in the mainstream that tout 65W fast charging as their highlight feature, and a few more phones that charge quicker and can go as high as 120W. Most of these fast charging tech is proprietary, unfortunately, restricting you to a very small closed-wall ecosystem. But in some good news, OPPO is licensing its VOOC charging technology to car and chipmakers, slightly expanding the ecosystem.
OPPO’s VOOC (Voltage Open Loop Multi-step Constant-Current Charging) technology is seen on smartphones from OPPO, OnePlus, and Realme under different names. Chargers designed for the VOOC standard rely on a higher current value while keeping the voltage close to the battery’s voltage. This eliminates the need to step down the voltage purposefully, and that in turn prevents overheating. Tushar has written an excellent resource on the fast charging tech on smartphones, so we recommend you read that to know more. OPPO has applied for more than 2,950 flash charging patents worldwide, and over 1,400 have been granted already.
At MWC Shanghai, OPPO is launching its flash charging project: The Flash Initiative. Under this project, other companies can license the proprietary VOOC technology and incorporate it into their own charging products, giving smartphone users more options when it comes to fast charging their phones. At the time of the announcement, partners under this initiative include FAW-Volkswagen, Anker, and NXP Semiconductors. The combined goal of OPPO’s newest partners is to provide access to fast charging in even more scenarios. Anker is a leading brand associated with charging technology, and this licensing will provide consumers with more charger options going beyond those manufactured by OPPO and related companies. FAW-Volkswagen will use OPPO’s charging IP to incorporate rapid charging into Volkswagen cars made in China. NXP Semiconductors will implement several OPPO patents to support VOOC flash charging across its printed circuit board assemblies, allowing flash charging to be integrated into more automotive applications, public spaces, and industrial settings.
In an ideal world, standard solutions such as USB Power Delivery should have been the go-to solution for fast charging as against proprietary standards. However, the standard solution evolves at a much slower pace compared to these proprietary solutions, and a licensing model further incentivizes companies to continue innovation on this end. While a license will not magically open a closed-wall ecosystem, it’s a widely accepted decision that balances innovation, acceptance, and commercial success.