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June 26, 2015

Charger evolution: Powering on

Transferring power from wall to phone for about 10 years to date, the AC-3 wall charger has been shipped roughly 1.2 billion times, meaning one in five people own one.

In fact, if you were to stretch out the cable from all of those AC-3 chargers, it would circulate the globe 36 times, or reach to the moon and back–almost twice.

After light bulbs, the AC-3 charger is one of the most-sold consumer electronic products in the world.

Reliably plugged in beside your bed or under your work desk, this charging companion has seen many siblings come to the fore. Not only do they offer sleek new looks, they increase power transfer rates to satisfy our demanding needs.

Wall charger

In 2008 we saw the Universal Fast USB Charger make its way into phone boxes and onto retail store shelves around the world. It’s now the default charger included in most of our current portfolio.


This more compact, faster charger gives you four times more output power and charges quicker than the venerable AC-3 charger. It also includes a USB port, which makes it possible to plug in your own USB cable.

With 1.5-ampere output current, it can charge up your phone 35% faster for the first 30 minutes of an empty battery.

Wireless chargers

Fumbling for a wire and plugging it in is something we’re all used to, but it’s the move to wireless that made charging your device become even easier–and more visually appealing.

In 2012, we released our first wireless charger, the Wireless Charging Plate (DT-900), which coincided with the launch of the Lumia 920–our first phone with built-in wireless charging.


While the charger itself needs to be plugged into a power outlet, your phone will charge, as if by magic, when placed on top of the charging plate.

Moving beyond simply providing wireless power, the Wireless Charging Plate (DT-903) charges in a smarter way.

This charger communicates with your phone, via Bluetooth Low Energy technology, and alerts you when your phone needs charging–or when you receive a phone call or email–by using ambient light notifications.


Essentially, the charger glows and display light patterns.

Charging at home or work is essential, but what about when you’re not at home and don’t have access to a wall outlet?

Blurring the lines between wireless charging and portable (stored) power, the Portable Wireless Charging Plate (DC-50) was born.


Charge it at home and slip it into your bag for when your phone battery begins to run low. Simply place it on a flat surface and position your wireless charging-enabled Lumia on top of it. Then wait for the power to be transferred–wirelessly!

Portable chargers

Making the move from stationary to mobile charging means that limitations on design are significantly reduced and innovative freedom increased.

Take the Universal Portable USB charger (DC-18), for instance.


Small and perfectly square, like a Live Tile, this charger slips perfectly into your inside jacket pocket, work bag, or glove box of your car until you need it.

Featuring a long and slender shape, the Universal Portable USB Charger (DC-19) sports a dramatically different look, but doesn’t skimp on power.


With a 3,200-mAh battery, its standby time exceeds well over six months.

One year later, the cylindrical shape changes slightly with the release of the Portable Power (DC-21). It’s slightly larger because the battery capacity has increased to 6,000 mAh. More power!


2015’s edition makes further improvements to the portable charging portfolio. Instead of just one USB port, we now have two. Welcome the new family of Microsoft Portable Dual Chargers!

With three capacity variants, there’s a model to suit every need: 5,200 mAh, 9,000 mAh, and 12,000 mAh.


Not only is that a lot of power storage, you can also charge two USB-charging devices, such as a Lumia 640 and Surface 3, at the same time.

‘Daisy-chaining’ is also an added bonus, so you can charge the Portable Dual Charger from the wall while you continue to charge your mobile devices from the Portable Dual Charger.

Are there any Microsoft chargers you’re particularly fond of? Tell us which ones below.