Is Wireless Charging Really the Future?


Whether wireless charging is the future depends in part on emerging technologies such as magnetic resonance

Wireless charging hasn’t caught on like many of its proponents had hoped. For example, an IHS survey in 2015 found that wireless charging accounts for a mere 20 percent of smartphone charging. However, consumer awareness of the technology increased to 72 percent from 36 percent in 2014. Furthermore, retailers such as Ikea and McDonald’s have installed Qi chargers for Android smartphones in many locations. However, whether wireless charging is the future remains cloudy.

The lack of Apple

Apple hasn’t been involved in the push for wireless charging, although the Apple Watch uses that method. That’s not to say wireless charging for Apple phones will never happen; it’s just unlikely to occur soon. That right there is a huge segment of the market.

New technologies

Magnetic resonance and radio frequency charging are the technologies leading the thrust—no pad or cable connection needed, and folks could recharge while using their phones. In magnetic resonance, charging occurs when an electric current penetrates the phone’s magnetic near-field. In radio frequency, a transmitter sends a radio signal to a device to charge it.

Technologies such as the one Qi uses involve inductive surfaces which are plugged in. So they’re not exactly wireless charging, but they charge quickly and powerfully. For example, Qi is capable of charging phones wirelessly to the tune of 60 percent battery in 30 minutes.

Truly wireless charging

With magnetic resonance and radio frequency, the greatest and most obvious benefit is that a person can continue using her device as normal while it charges. There’s no surface required, such as with Qi. These two newest technologies are often capable of charging through walls, tables and the like. This means that you’ll rarely have to worry about your device going dead, as long as you have a wireless charger in the general vicinity. This type of charging isn’t just for smartphones, either. Cars are one device type that stand to benefit in the near future. 

Possible drawbacks include compromised efficiency and wasted heat. Larger rooms mean larger charge sources and more power.