Wireless Phone Charging
The biggest problem with rechargeable batteries is... recharging. For every “cordless” device you carry, you also have to carry a cord and a transformer to recharge the device when its battery runs down. But soon, you may be able to throw away that tangle of cables in your briefcase, purse or backpack. Wireless charging is the next big thing in mobility...
Wireless charging is not new. Cordless electric toothbrushes have used it for decades. But toothbrushes can sit in their cradles all day, slowly charging up for their short-lived moments of glory. Only recently has wireless charging technology gotten efficient enough to be viable in mobile devices, which demand power all day long.
In practice, you can simply set your smartphone down in a cradle, a charging mat, or on a specific spot marked on a flat surface, and it will charge until you pick it up. With charging made so easy, you can do it more often and keep your battery always topped up. Also, there are no micro-USB connectors to damage by attempting to plug them in the wrong way, and no charger to lose.
Yes, there is a standards war, as there was between VHS and Betamax. The Qi standard, backed by 200 industry members of the Wireless Power Consortium, is the oldest and most widely implemented wireless charging standard. But there's also Powermat, a competing standard promoted by the Power Matters Alliance. And of course, they're not compatible with each other.
Then there’s the dark horse standard, Rezence, promoted by the Alliance for Wireless Power. Unlike the induction-based Qi and Powermat standards, Rezence uses electromagnetic resonance to enable transfer of electrical energy over greater distances (up to several feet). So you might not have to take your phone out of your pocket to charge it.
Which Phones Support Wireless Charging?
Instead of moving the wire, the lines of magnetic force can be moved through a stationary wire by rapidly reversing the polarity of the magnetic field; this is easily done by passing an alternating current through the wire. So electrical voltage (the stuff of battery charges) can be transferred from one wire to another without having the wires physically touch each other. That’s wireless charging.
Here are a few dozen models that support Qi wireless charging without peripheral adapters that must be plugged into the phone (which really defeats the purpose):
- HTC: 8X, Droid DNA, Thunderbolt, Incredible 2, Rezound
- LG: G3, Optimus
- Google: Nexus 4/5/6/7
- Samsung: Galaxy Note 2/3/4, Galaxy S3/S4/S5, S6/S6 Edge
- Sony: Xperia Z3/Z3V
Most of the phones listed above have Wireless Qi charging built-in. Some require a replacement back plate that incorporates the wireless charge receiver; that adds a bit of thickness to the phone. See this list of Qi-enabled phones.
The list of phones that support PMA wireless charging is considerably smaller: ` Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, Nokia Lumia 830, Kyocera Hydro, Blackberry Classic and Blackberry Passport. The new Samsung Galaxy S6 phones are unique in that they have both Qi and PowerMat wireless charge receivers built right into them. Other phones can add Powermat capability with an addon back plate or dongle. Here's a list Powermat-certified products.
Starbucks is installing Powermat wireless charging stations in its stores, starting with 200 locations in San Francisco, and a handful in Boston and London. The Power Matters Alliance, which promotes the Powermat standard, has also partnered with General Motors, which has promised to bring wireless charging to their cars in the future.
For wireless charging at home or in the office, you'll need a Qi or Powermat charging pad that's compatible with your phone. Prices for those start at about $10.
What about Apple products? iPhone users are out of luck, because Apple is not supporting any of the current wireless charging standards. The best you can do is buy a little gadget that plugs into the phone's charging port, which connects a wireless charge receiver via a cable. So it's hardly wireless, and not very convenient.
Wireless charging will become as popular as wireless networking in the next few years. Which standard will prevail is still up in the air, which is why Samsung is building both Qi and Powermat into its latest phones. But I welcome the day when wireless charging is a standard feature in homes, cars and coffee shops. Hopefully, it won’t be long until those pesky cables and transformers disappear forever.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 24 Mar 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Wireless Phone Charging (Posted: 24 Mar 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved