Reality check: fast charging is getting too good to be true Glenn July 24, 2020 Columns The great thing about tech is that it always gets better while still getting cheaper to produce. That is why going beyond some generally accepted line of diminishing returns doesn’t really make sense if your business model revolves around selling as many devices as possible, which it does if you’re a smartphone brand not headed for certain bankruptcy. Gimmicks gonna gimmick Yet smartphone manufacturers conditioned us to see their repeated acts of smashing their corporate heads against a level of diminishing returns so thick that it’s not a point but a wall as something to celebrate instead of a clear indication of insanity. Well, at least if you don’t consider the brand awareness perspective and how it benefits from the fine art of gimmick creation, which they certainly are, given their obsession with appealing to pretentious YouTube tech channels. Because it’s otherwise getting really hard to explain smartphone chargers doubling in speed yet again, which is what Chinese BBK Electronics recently achieved and intends to leverage to market some of its VIVO-, OPPO-, and OnePlus-branded smartphones in the near future. That would be one whole year after Xiaomi showcased near-identical tech but forgot to mention it will only be available to consumers if consumers are ok with smartphones doubling in price (they aren’t). That may be an exaggeration but again, we’ve been doing this song and dance with smartphones for years. Even now, there’s an identically futile and entirely artificial race between Samsung and Huawei in moon photography. Because the ability to perform moon photography is something that factors into your smartphone purchase decision. Oh, and that ability doesn’t exist, by the way. We literally made it up, then repeated until you accepted it as a fact, but thank you for using it in one of your pointless Reddit arguments about which overpriced phone is better based on an arbitrary list of features that were fed to you. Man, you really showed that other guy, we’re rooting for you! When something sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t. BBK claims its 120W chargers totally are, having already claimed they’re ready for mass production. The thing is, there’s no way they don’t charge you an arm and a leg for something so much better than the industry average. Which you may be totally fine with but that makes you part of a niche audience, which consequently completes the tiny, tiny circle called 21st century smartphone gimmicks, bringing us back to that original point about business models and how they relate to the number of devices any given manufacturer hopes to sell. If you want faster chargers, something between reasonable prices, decent phone battery life, and anything beyond incremental annual improvements to the actual tech has got to give. Just because yet another manufacturer claims it doesn’t – doesn’t mean anything.