USB-C ports and their associated standards are continuing to prove incredibly flexible. Charging my phone, headphones, tablet, and laptop, all on the same charger, is pretty damn close to magic. But the USB-C port isn’t all-powerful… at least not yet. The most powerful laptops, and other high-energy devices like desktop PCs, still need dedicated power supplies with old-fashioned connectors. That could change as soon as this year.
An upcoming expansion of the USB-C standard in version 2.1 will expand officially-supported power output for the ubiquitous port. In the initial specification of USB-C 2.1 published yesterday, the USB Implementers Forum outlined “Extended Power Range,” which boosts maximum power output to 240 watts. That’s enough energy to charge up the most demanding gaming laptops, or even a full television. It wouldn’t be enough for, say, a full-power gaming PC or a PS5, but pretty much anything that you’d want to move around could charge off the same standard port.
The Implementers Forum expects devices with Extended Power Range to become available before the end of the year. While it’s hard to imagine Android devices or other mobile gadgets needing much more than the current 100-watt limit, extending chargers to 200 or more could let a single multi-port GaN charger supply power to a phone, tablet, monitor, and a host of accessories, all on a single outlet.