Everyone’s heard of silicon.

Even if not as the main element used in solid-state devices, then surely the name of the technological hub and centre of innovation in California, or more recently, the comedy series that shares its name.

It’s now a common word used to describe all things technical, but it’s old. And these days, it’s slooooooow.

People want speed, they want everything in their world to be much faster, and silicon-based devices have now reached their limit. Unfortunately, your phone isn’t getting charged any quicker if the technology it uses is still based on silicon.

Nope, fast chargers these days use the new kid on the block, gallium nitride.

Granted, it doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as well as “silicon” and it’s hard to imagine Netflix launching a series named after it anytime soon (Gallium Nitride Valley just doesn’t work) but watch out because it’s about to become the go-to technology for chargers, phones and indeed, any technology that relies on battery power.

If your wall charger doesn’t have GaN inside, then regardless of whether your phone came with a “quick charger” or not, you’re going to be hanging around. You might as well have another bagel.

Luckily, you don’t have to wait. GaN chargers are here already and they’re set to get even more popular as brands across the globe latch on to this new technology and make charging your devices faster, more accessible and easier than ever before.

Not just for mobile phones

Another development in the world of charging is that of the Power Delivery format or PD.

You’ll already have this if your new device came with USB-C, which many do these days, even laptops and tablet devices.

Bought a new Galaxy Note? Then you’ll have USB-C. It’s that new adapter that can be plugged in either way round, and that’s how it was first promoted way back when Google launched its first phones with it.

“Fed up with trying to plug in your charger and getting it the wrong way round?”

Yes, plugging in chargers was sometimes tricky, but that headline completely missed the point about this new USB standard and its benefit to devices that used it.

In fact, the benefits of this type of adapter go beyond mobile phones as many tablets and laptops are now using them as their go-to charging method, and with the higher power available in GaN-based chargers, fast charging is also coming to your laptop and any other portable devices.

The power delivery format together with a move over to USB-c cable in many more devices means in many cases you only need to carry around one wall charger. This is a boon to travellers who have often had to carry around bunches of weighty blocks of plastic, one for each device. Now, they can all be replaced by one small, fast and lighter charger.

And travel chargers is where some manufacturers have really seen the benefits of GaN-based devices.

Take the MuOne, an extremely thin charger that uses GaN to keep the internal bits nice and small, and some clever design to pack a range of otherwise clumsy travel adapters into a tiny form factor.