We all know that wireless charging is here to stay. Our future will be one where we garner power from charging stations rather than cables. But that’s the future. The question remains – what is the current status of wireless charging industry?
2020 is seen by many as a breakthrough year for wireless charging. The announcement in 2017 that Apple would be using wireless charging for their new iPhone has seen big moves by all the major players in this field. Of course, mobile phones are not the only application for wireless charging, but they capture the attention of the public. Let’s take a look at where we stand today.
One of the major things holding back wireless charging over the last few years in a universal agreement on the technology used. Think back to the days where the audio cassette tape(Compact Cassette) and vinyl(LP/EP/SP Record) disappeared. Money was spent on DVD(Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc), MD(MiniDisc), CD(Compact Disc), and other solutions. We now know that the Compact Disc was the winner in this race for tech adoption. But the money spent on other solutions was significant. And in many ways, it was wasted.
All of the major players have pretty much chosen Qi technology as their preferred solution for delivering power. This uses a magnetic coil in the charging unit, which is usually a charging mat or plate. This passes power to the magnetic coil situated in the device you are looking to charge. This is known as inductive charging.
Convenience As Standard
Inductive charging is such a convenient way to provide power to a device. And that is the driving force behind the current trend for wireless charging. We can feel stressed that we need a cable and access to a plug socket in order to get a charge on our device. The whole point of a mobile phone is to be mobile. But the fact that we use our phone for so much of our daily life means that we deplete the battery more quickly then ever. The result is that we spend time using the phone while it is on charge. This does kind of take away some of the convenience of the smartphone. And the future applications for this include tablets and laptops. Real freedom from cables! More on this later in the article.
We want convenience as standard in all we do in the modern world. Wireless charging is delivering this to mobile users – and that’s pretty much all of us
Safety As A Selling Point
One of the features of a wirelessly charged device is that it now becomes a sealed unit. In the days gone by, providing access to the battery for a cable also provides access for dust and water to ingress the inner workings of a phone. These obviously provide potential problems to performance and safety.
Wireless charging now means that phones can be made truly waterproof. This is a major selling point. As people are looking for more safety all the time, using the safer features of a wirelessly charged cell phone as a selling point makes all kind of sense. As we look at the further applications for wireless charging below, you will see that safety is a hugely important feature of a wirelessly charged electrical device.
The Qi way of charging isn’t just something that can be used for the mobile phone. We’ve already mentioned laptops and tablets as the next set of devices that can benefit from wireless charging. They have similar batteries so you can see how easily this tech can be passed over.
The present for wireless tools is being led by Bosch. But the future of all power tools and kitchen gadgets being charged wirelessly is an enticing one. The technology is present in 2020, it is just the adoption of these devices by manufacturers and consumers that will take things to the next level.
Electric automobiles are part of modern life. Governments across the world have plans to phase out diesel and petrol cars. The currently viable alternative is the electric car. The current way of charging is using a cable in pretty much the same way as the mobile phone – with pretty much the same issues. Inductive charging is being developed where a car can simply drive and park on a charging plate which will deliver power to a receiving coil in the vehicle. Replacing the existing way of charging in homes and public car parks will take time and investment, but we are ready to go.
Where We Need To Go
There are still some issues with wireless charging that need to be ironed out. Distance is still a problem that hasn’t been resolved in 2020. The device needs to be within a few millimetres of the charging coil in order for the charge to be passed over. We want a future where our devices can be charged from a greater distance than this. The next level of convenience is a few years away at least.
Efficiency of charge still has a little way to go until it matches or overtakes wired charging. The tech has gotten so much better over the last few years. However, having your device on charge for longer periods of time, because all you need to do is place it somewhere, will deliver a consistent amount of power as the day goes on. Having a charging mat on your work desk, for instance, means the device will be topped up on a regular basis in addition to a full charge overnight.