Hardware Minute: What the Fledge is a GaN Charger?

Posted by Ethan Summers on Jan 9th 2020

Hardware Minute: What the Fledge is a GaN Charger?

A little background

Tiny. Cool to the touch. Fast charging. These are just a few of the terms that no one on the planet would use to describe current chargers for MacBooks and the Apple large device family.

But each is perfect for describing GaN technology, one of the most exciting power management innovations in years. We’re here today to share what GaN is, why it matters, what it will (probably) mean in the future, and to throw in a little bit about how Fledging is involved.

So, now that we have the intro – what the Fledge is a GaN charger?

GaN stands for “Gallium Nitride”, an innovative, new semiconductor material. A GaN charger is just a charger, like for your MacBook, that uses GaN technology instead of silicon.

The most powerful MacBook charger is 3” x 3” x 1” (76 x 76 x 25 mm), delivers 96W, and can become so hot that a whole community exists just to tackle this problem. Smaller chargers claim less space but pack a lot less power.

Meanwhile here in the future, GaN chargers can be much smaller than a comparable MacBook charger, can easily deliver 65W of power, and typically stay about as cool as your palm even during heavy usage. Some innovative young startups from Alabama are even working on a version that includes multiple charging ports and a top-of-the-market power density.

Oh, and GaN is better for the planet. Manufacturing GaN is cheaper and more effective than manufacturing silicon, “enabling devices that are faster, smarter, more efficient, and less costly than their aging silicon counterparts”.

What does this mean for me?

GaN is faster, cooler, and smaller. Your devices will charge faster, most chargers will stay pleasantly warm at most, and the charger will take up much less space in your bag than carrying all the old chargers you needed.

You can carry one charger for all your stuff. Think about tossing a single charger in your bag to travel down the street or around the world. GaN easily charges MacBooks while also charging multiple other devices at the same time.

You’re helping save the planet. Seriously, it’s a lot better. GaN is easier and cheaper to make, while working a lot better. That means less waste and a longer working life. The technology is also helping improve speakers, electric cars, and just about anything that runs on electricity (which is everything).

Oh, that sounds cool. I bet it’s super expensive.

It’s actually not. Market prices range from $30 to $100, depending on all the features in the charger. Compare that to a replacement 96W MacBook charger that costs $79 from Apple… and doesn’t even include a cable or more than one useful port. 

Now I’m interested in GaN chargers. What does all this have to do with Fledging?

GaN is a remarkable technology with lots of applications. Fledging is excited to incorporate this new technology into our products in 2020.

Stay tuned for some major product news this spring as we continue our mission of bringing premium electronics to everyone!