Wireless Phone Chargers
You've got a wireless phone, but more often than not, it's tethered to the wall charger with a wire! The advent of wireless phone chargers promises to eliminate that hassle. Read on to learn more...
How About a Wireless Phone With No Wires?
Wireless power charging for mobile devices is a very desirable thing. It means one less mess of cable and transformer to carry, lose, and pay Best Buy $22 plus tax to replace in a hurry (or $2.10 delivered via eBay, if you can wait for China Post). Instead, just find a “charging hotspot” and set your phone or tablet down on top of it; then pick up your device when it’s charged, and go. You don’t have to unplug a cord, wind it up, and stuff it in a pocket or briefcase. There’s nothing loose to lose.
The science behind this magic is called “resonant inductive coupling.” An electric current induces a magnetic field in a coil of wire. The magnetic field induces an electric current in a nearby coil of wire. You may have encountered this phenomenon in high school physics class; it’s that old and simple. So why isn’t wireless charging standard equipment by now?
Because there are competing standards, of course. Ubiquitous wireless Internet access was delayed for several years while two standards battled it out for supremacy among equipment manufacturers. The WiFi standard won. (Does anyone remember HomeRF, the loser?) In the wireless charging arena, three standards were duking it out until February, 2014. Now there are only two, and we all know “there can be only one.”
Qi (pronounced “Chee”) is the oldest standard. It’s developed and promoted by the Wireless Power Consortium which currently has 199 corporate members, including Microsoft, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, Verizon, and other well-known brands. Over 560 products are Qi-certified, including Google’s Wireless Charging Orb for the Nexus 4, released in late 2012. But Qi is not the clear-cut winner of this standards battle by a long shot.
WiFi won the wireless Internet standard war when Starbucks picked it for all of its coffee stores. Now, Starbucks is testing the PMA standard represented by the Power Matters Alliance. Over 100,000 Starbucks stores will soon be offering public “power hotspots” where customers can charge their phones while chugging caffeine. By the end of 2015, every Starbucks will offer PMA-based charging and Qi may once again belong in the realm of Chinese medicine.
The Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) merged with the PMA group in February, 2014. The best parts of both standards will be rolled into one standard; hopefully, it will not be awkwardly labeled “PMA-A4WP.”
Getting The Gear...
There are more than 60 phone models that support Qi wireless charging. Accessories that add wireless charging to many other phones are available. Starting with selected 2015 models, Cadillac plans to provide both wireless charging standards as standard equipment in its cars.
I've found that the car charging cables (and the cigarette lighter adapters for them) are horribly unreliable. After a short time, they either stop working, or require constant jiggling to maintain the flow of juice from car to phone. I've tried quite a few brands, at different price points, and the results have never been satisfactory.
So 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 1 Aug 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Wireless Phone Chargers (Posted: 1 Aug 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved