Google IO 15 Keynote AH 22

Android M and USB Type-C to Make Batteries More Useful

May 28, 2015 - Written By Phil Bourget

As Google I/O continues, the brief introduction to the next version of Android came to a close,, leaving many things that users have been wanting to see and have in the ecosystem for years.  The biggest thing to hit the next version of Android is the addition of a USB type-C port to upcoming hardware.

Now, USB type-C first debuted on laptops in the form of Apple’s newest MacBook and Google’s eye-catching Chromebook Pixel 2.  And on the Pixel 2, which featured two type-C ports to allow for various connections and expansions of the device, we saw an interesting trick get pulled when connecting the two: the Pixel 2 starts charging the MacBook, since type-C is two-way in power and data transfer.  This capability will be coming to Android M- and type-C-clad hardware.

When your phone has a full charge, since it’s been on your desk all day topping up its charge, and the Wear device you’ve been checking every five minutes for four hours waiting to hear back from your wife about the trip you have planned.  Then you get that email, and it says the flight is twenty minutes after you get off work.  you don’t have time to charge your watch at your desk, but you have your charger and your type-C-clad, Android M-running device.  You can plug in your Wear watch to the cord, and plug into your phone, with its larger, fully-charged battery

You’re then offered a prompt, to choose whether to use this to charge the phone, or to use the phone to output power to this newly connected device.  And, during that mad dash to the airport via your car or a taxi your phone is charging your watch, and you won’t need to pull a paper boarding pass out, and get to be the coolest guy in Terminal 4 when you scan your watch.

Android M enables the feature for this new hardware, and it will be interesting to see the types of battery improvements and unique use cases that reverse charging can bring to devices, especially tablets whose batteries will last longer overnight thanks to the also-new Doze functionality coming from Android M.  Type-C will hopefully get many more devices as hosts once M becomes a household name in the third quarter of this year after its launch.