Monday, February 25, 2013

Is wireless charging ready to hit the mainstream?

Emeka Obiodu, telco strategy analyst, Ovum

SPAIN: At Pepcom’s MobileFocus on Sunday, there was an array of wireless power solutions for charging mobile phones. We visited the stands of the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) and the Alliance for Wireless Power, which both had interesting demonstrations on how this will work.

The good news is that the technology is gaining traction in the industry. The Qi standard has been finalized since 2010 and the WPC is made up of major industry players, including telcos, device manufacturers, and vendors. There are already devices enabled for wireless charging from the likes of Samsung, Nokia, LG, and HTC, and then there are other clever implementations, such as dongle-type plugins that can convert every phone to use wireless power.

Efficiency remains a concern and the risk of interference is bound to delay regulatory approval. For example, authorities in Japan demanded to test the wireless charging solution for interference with over 50 different pacemakers. However, for a technology that needs a single voice to advocate its adoption, we are still not sure why more than one industry association is needed.

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