March 6, 2018

This is what the future of wireless charging looks like

By Team Ventev Topic: Tech Specs

Wireless charging is the Next Big Thing. When Apple unveiled three new phones in the fall of 2017, all capable of charging wirelessly, we finally reached the tipping point.

But what we think of as wireless charging today is likely only the beginning. It could extend beyond phones and charge stands to kitchen counters, light fixtures, and other areas.

Some of these future concepts were on display this year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. How soon they might make their way into your home, however, is anyone’s guess.

Here are three highlights of the future of wireless charging:

A kitchen with no outlets. Imagine a countertop that served as a charging pad. And appliances that, rather than needing to be plugged in, could merely be placed on the counter and used.

Wireless charging for high-powered devices like blenders, food processors, toasters, and any number of kitchen gadgets is on the way.

If you’ve always struggled with the mess of cords on your countertop, or the way cords make small appliances hard to store, you can now look forward to cordless appliances.

They’re easy to set up, and easy to put away. Don’t be surprised if this ends up in new kitchens over the course of the next few years.

Ambient wireless charging. For the past few years, we’ve seen concepts that permit wireless charging over longer distances – think light fixtures that transmit power throughout a room.

The proof of concept for this is definitely real, but commercialization is a long way off.

First, the charge speeds we’ve seen are still low. That won’t be a big deal if these systems are simply everywhere, because you’ll be able to grab a little bit of power all day. But other hurdles still exist.

Some systems rely on infrared beams, so a phone needs to be in the line of sight. Stepping between the device and the beam interrupts charging. Companies are working on how to make the beam follow a device as its user walks around a room.

Still, it’s cool technology, and it’s only a matter of time before we see it in the wild.  

Wireless chargers get faster, but many still struggle with speed. More and more wireless charging accessories are entering the market. The problem?

They continue to dwell in the 5 watt range, which makes them slow.

We’ve long seen that slow wireless charging has hampered adoption of this technology. More and more people are using power-hungry applications like streaming videos while charging. No one likes to have their phone plugged in for an hour while they watch Netflix only to find that their battery has less charge than it did an hour ago. That’s what happens when the phone is using battery faster than the charger can replenish it.

If you’re looking to buy a wireless charger anytime soon, keep an eye on how many watts it delivers. Many wireless chargers on the market only provide 5 watts of charge, which is far less power than newer phones like the iPhone X, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, and Samsung’s Galaxy S6, S7, and S8 can consume.

The fastest wireless chargers currently available deliver 15 watts and top off wireless charging-enabled phones from the iPhone X to the LG V30 and Sony Xperia XZ2 at their maximum rate.

Awaiting the future of wireless charging

Wireless charging speeds are faster. More phones support the technology. What’s now in the concept stage will soon make its way to our kitchens, cars, and conference rooms.  

For every good idea at CES, there’s something splashy that will never hit store shelves. But wireless charging is here to stay.

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