I thought some of you would enjoy this article I received on another list.
Here is the text from a very interesting cNet article that I thought you may
The URL to the original article is located as the end of the piece.
A World Free of Charging Cables? It's All Up To Apple
By Roger Cheng/CNET
The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge features wireless charging, and successor the S8
will likely have the same capability.
The pitch has always been a simple one: Place your phone down and watch it
charge automatically, without the fuss of finding an outlet or connecting a
The reality of wireless charging, however, has been anything but.
Differing technologies and incompatible standards have hindered broader
adoption of wireless charging. It was good enough to work in Oral-B electric
toothbrushes in the early '90s, yet most phones still lack the ability to
charge without a power cord.
But 2017 appears to be the year wireless charging gets its act together.
You're starting to see an accelerating trickle of products incorporating the
feature, from a Dell laptop unveiled at CES to automakers looking for a way
to more easily power their electric vehicles. The most obvious spark could
come from Apple, which appears ready to get off the sidelines and commit to
the feature in a big way by joining the Wireless Power Consortium. The
rumors of the iPhone 8 getting wireless charging alone are enough to get
people thinking about the feature.
"Whoever Apple picks wins," said Avi Greengart, an analyst at research firm
Global Data. "That's the catalyst that would drive enough volume."
Apple declined to comment on how the WPC will impact the next iPhone.
"Apple is an active member of many standards development organizations, as
both a leader and contributor," the company said. "Apple is joining the
Wireless Power Consortium to be able to participate and contribute ideas to
the open, collaborative development of future wireless charging standards."
An embrace of wireless charging by the iPhone maker could mean a resurgence
of interest in the feature. Last year, "things lost steam a bit," according
to IHS analyst David Green. Yes, the number of wireless charging devices
grew 40 percent year over year in 2016, but that was largely because Samsung
incorporated the feature into its Galaxy S7 and Note 7 phones.
And just because wireless charging is in a phone doesn't mean consumers are
taking advantage of it -- or even aware of the capability.
The market is expected to nearly double to 375 million devices in 2017, and
Green said he expects at least one more player to publicly embrace wireless
charging at the Mobile World Congress trade show next week.
Phone makers for years have touted wireless charging as a key feature. Nokia
famously championed it with its flagship Lumia phones, and Google and LG
incorporated it into the Nexus 4 phone.
Those companies used a technology called inductive charging -- the same as
that electric toothbrush -- which requires you to place the device on a
charging pad in a specific position.
Newer forms of wireless charging open the door to different applications.
Magnetic resonance gives you a bit more freedom, so you don't have to lay
your phone down at an exact spot. It can charge multiple devices with
different power needs. It can also charge across a few inches and through
objects, so you can mount a charging pad under a table rather than have a
specific built-in inductive charger in your furniture (which Ikea actually
That ability to charge over a short distance is an opportunity for
automakers and their electric cars. Alex Gruzen, CEO of WiTricity, which
builds chips to power magnetic resonance technology, said he's planning for
car launches in 2020 that will take advantage of the technology. He sees
phones capable of using magnetic resonance coming next year.
"Wireless charging is part of everyone's future roadmap," Gruzen said.
Meanwhile, companies like Energous are exploring sending power over radio
frequency airwaves, similar to how online connectivity gets broadcast over
Wi-Fi. In fact, Energous plans to integrate its power broadcasting
capabilities into Wi-Fi routers next year.
Beyond phones, that kind of capability would be ideal for low-power sensors
like smoke detectors or even smaller devices like hearing aids.
While the idea of charging something 15 feet away sounds great, there are
questions about how quickly you can charge over the air. Energous also needs
to get approval from the Federal Communications Commission to ensure its
system is safe.
"We are quite comfortable that we have developed tech that conforms to their
guidelines," said Energous CEO Steve Rizzone.
How did we get into this mess?
Here's where things get confusing.
Despite the range of technologies, the standards battles have largely been
fought around two incompatible versions of inductive charging.
On one side is Qi, championed by the Wireless Power Consortium. It boasts,
by far, the most wireless charging products.
On the other side is a form of inductive charging pushed by Powermat and the
AirFuel Alliance, an amalgamation of two former groups that now also
embraces magnetic resonance and radio frequency charging. (I told you this
Powermat has invested in building a network of charging stations in retail
locations like Starbucks and McDonald's, but has fewer phones in the market
using its technology.
Samsung actually had a chance to provide some clarity, but opted to play
nice and incorporate both versions into its Galaxy S phones. That just led
to more confusion, with both standards crowing about being in the
"By not picking the winner, it almost prolongs the pain," Greengart said.
Talking to the two sides is like talking to a Golden State Warriors fan and
a Cleveland Cavaliers fan: You're going to get two distinct realities.
"They're not there," WPC Chairman Menno Treffers said of the competition.
"There's not much of a battle anymore."
"The adoption is so small now, there's no one to say what the standard is
going to look like," said Ron Resnick, chairman of the AirFuel Alliance.
You can see why we're still in a logjam.
Where Apple comes in
Apple could provide some clarity. Earlier this month, it confirmed it had
joined the WPC, sparking speculation that the purported iPhone 8 would
include wireless charging.
It isn't just joining for show. Treffers said that Apple is expected to make
a technical contribution to Qi and that company representatives were in
London last week making a presentation, part of a broader gathering of
WPC membership doesn't guarantee that the iPhone uses Qi. Note that the
Apple Watch uses a form of inductive charging too.
But if Apple commits to Qi, Powermat CEO Elad Dubzinski said his network of
charging stations could support the standard with a mix of hardware and
software tweaks. He said he was more concerned with managing the network of
services that would flow on top of wireless charging, say, at a Starbucks.
There's also the persistent chatter that Apple is exploring wireless
charging over several feet, which is where Energous could come into play.
Rizzone has hinted at a "key strategic partner," which many have taken to
Energous has given this partner a one-year exclusivity deal for a specific
product category. Given Apple's eagerness to lock up new features for
itself, the deal might signal that future iPhones could embrace radio
And that ultimately could be the answer, with companies incorporating
inductive or magnetic resonance for faster charging over shorter distances,
and radio frequency to help keep your battery topped off.
No matter how things shake out, it may take Apple to light the way.
"It's a chicken-and-egg problem that can only be solved by a fruit,"
Original Article at:
Sent from my iBarstool.