2020 was certainly the year of the GaN charger and adapters ranging from 45W to 200W with a lot of after market chargers, says Jim Witham, CEO of Canadian chip developer GaN Systems.
“The difference in 2021 is we will see all the big guys come out with it. Huawei and Oppo have GaN chargers , then it’s what about Samsung and Apple will do. We will see some interesting developments there. They both announced they will not put chargers in the box but in the store and online and it’s clear that the big OEMs have the message of using their chargers rather the aftermarket.”
This works for the lower power chargers, but not yet for the 100W and above for laptops. “The computer guys will keep putting chargers in the box for exactly these reasons,” said Witham. “I don’t think we will ever get 200W into those boxes. You need 65W for the computer and 65W for a fast charger phone. You can argue 130W is necessary.”
The company's GaN parts are designed into the next generation of Philips 65W charger launched earlier this month. The hexagonal charger includes three AC outlets and three USB ports (two USB-C and one USB-A) that can charge three digital devices at the same time while also supplying power to three 220V devices.
The growth in the adapter market is key for the maturing GaN device market.
“Volumes are way up and process costs are way down and that spurs more volume, it’s the semiconductor economic model,” said Witham. “The volumes of chips in the wall chargers really helps drive up the volume. It’s really just volume, the cost structure is similar to silicon so it’s really about volume in 2021.”