Wireless charging still a year away from hitting full power

Wireless charging still a year away from hitting full powerWireless charging has made some fairly big strides over the last year or two, but just like another emerging technology – flexible screens – it's a fair bit less glamorous in practice than it is in theory.

The problem, for wireless charging at least, is one of competing standards, and it's an issue industry insiders say is probably still a year away from being resolved.

You'd be forgiven at this point for saying there already is a universal standard in the Wireless Power Consortium's Qi, the standard used by the likes of the LG G2, Samsung Galaxy S4 and a fair few Nokia Lumias over the past couple of years.

But DigiTimes reports wireless charging module makers are still hedging their bets to a large degree and stopping short of committing fully to developing new products while other standards such as A4WP and PMA persist.

And it's agreement between these “upstream” suppliers, as DigiTimes calls them, that's as much a hurdle towards consensus being reached on a single standard as downstream players agreeing on a way to bring finished solutions to consumers.

The time and cost of integrating these three standards into a single industry platform is likely to take at least until the second half of next year to complete, vendor sources are saying.

Part of the problem is that just like the batteries being charged, wireless charging itself isn't really seen as a glamour area of consumer electronics – not in the way screen technologies are, for example.

Most consumers are still thanking their lucky stars wired chargers have been standardised (for all but Apple, anyway) onto microSD. Suggest that they might have to pay anything more than a tiny premium to go wireless, and they might just tell you exactly where you can stick your wireless charger. And it won't be into the wall socket.

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6 comments

TJ Skywasher  Oct. 17, 2013 at 20:54

The term 'wireless' is debatable, you still have to plug some sort of base station in to charge your device so I don't really see the benefit over plugging your phone directly into the wall. The technology industry should just skip this altogether for that reason and focus on wireless power, that's what I'd like to see in a future device.

Stelph  Oct. 18, 2013 at 09:27

I disagree, I think features like the QI "wireless" charging are a very important step in charging our devices, esepcially in devices where it can be more fiddly to plug in the device (like with smart watches and the like), you may still have to plug in a charger but at least you only have to do that once rather than the millions of times that you have to do currently

Plus, if companies are smart, they will work out ways for the phones to be able to wirelessly charge and sync with PC's at the same time when plonked down on the charging pad

JanSt / MOD  Oct. 18, 2013 at 09:28

True, TJ...
It's also curious that Apple gets treated like the worst polluter for not following the micro-usb EU train. Meanwhile, "wireless" charging pads mean more rubbish. Additional backplates on some phones. More rubbish. A "normal" charger for on-the-go charging... more/duplicate rubbish...

Granted, it's early days. But "wireless" charging capability is about as low on my list of dream features as being stuck in an elevator with Simon Cowell on a Viagra overdose.

JanSt / MOD  Oct. 18, 2013 at 09:29

stelph, you make some good points, also. Stop confusing me ;). :p

Archduke Franz  Oct. 18, 2013 at 11:39

At first I thought wireless charging was just a bit of a fad, but after using it for about a year now I find it mega convenient. Often I would forget to charge my phone, or take it off the charger to write a quick message off my desk and forget to plug it back in before I left the house (I need 100% before I leave) but now my phone essentially just 'lives' on the charger when I'm in the house and (almost) no more leaving the house with < 100% charge misery for me. Yes, I work long days, and yes, my employers are t**** who won't let me charge at the office.

JanSt / MOD  Oct. 18, 2013 at 12:14

At first I thought wireless charging was just a bit of a fad, but after using it for about a year now I find it mega convenient. Often I would forget to charge my phone, or take it off the charger to write a quick message off my desk and forget to plug it back in before I left the house (I need 100% before I leave) but now my phone essentially just 'lives' on the charger when I'm in the house and (almost) no more leaving the house with < 100% charge misery for me. Yes, I work long days, and yes, my employers are t**** who won't let me charge at the office.

Oh, don't get me wrong: I see the convenience factor. I had 3 Palm/HP Pre phones and the TouchStone thingy...

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