Soon you will be charging your smartphone ‘in the air’

Wireless charging is becoming increasingly popular on smartphones making it a necessary feature for flagships.

| Updated on: Aug 20 2022, 16:40 IST
Google Pixel 3, left, and Google Pixel 3 XL, and wireless charging stand in New York.
Google Pixel 3, left, and Google Pixel 3 XL, and wireless charging stand in New York. (AP)
Google Pixel 3, left, and Google Pixel 3 XL, and wireless charging stand in New York.
Google Pixel 3, left, and Google Pixel 3 XL, and wireless charging stand in New York. (AP)

For people on the go, wireless charging is slowly gaining popularity and smartphone manufacturers are increasingly working towards making wireless charging technology seamless.

The costs associated with wireless charging technologies have declined over a period of time owing to its increased popularity in the portable device market, which has resulted in higher acceptance of this technology specially among users living in metros.

Wireless charging means users no longer need to plug a cable into the smartphone to charge it. It is a new and innovative technology being introduced in India recently.

"Various mobile phone manufacturers are cutting the cord across their new products and mobile phone models launched have wireless charging feature in-built. This means that 2019 is the starting year where major tech companies are implementing wireless charging on a massive scale," Kashish Lalit, Director, Toreto Retail Pvt. Ltd, told IANS.

"Wireless charging is massive area which requires continuous research and development and in the coming year, we will see more than 50 per cent of our daily appliances and accessories being charged wirelessly," Kashish added.

The technology was first introduced by Huawei in its Mate 20 Pro smartphone, then by Samsung with the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 series among Android phones. With the expansion of the technology along with growing demand, more flagship smartphones are expected to follow the suit.

In the iOS ecosystem, Apple iPhone 8, 8 Plus, X, XR, XS and XS Max are products which offers the wireless-charging facility.

Several smartwatches like Apple Watch, Moto 360, LG Watch Style and Samsung smartwatches offers wireless charging technology along with some tablets such as the Nexus 7. The newly-launched Huawei Watch GT even promises full-charge for almost a week.

Also known as inductive charging, wireless charging works on the same principle as induction cooktops -- electromagnetic induction or simply induction. It works by transferring energy from the charger to a receiver in the back of the smartphone. Wireless charging requires both the phone and the charger to have an induction coil.

Once these coils detect each other, they starts generating electromagnetic field which results in the transfer of energy from charger to phone. In terms of performance, some wireless chargers are faster than others due to high-powered chargers capable of fully charging a large battery smartphone in around two hours while some are slow.

One of the biggest advantages of wireless charging is that one does not need to tackle with cables. In addition, there is a smaller risk of electric faults. There are three types of wireless charging, according to David Green, a research manager with IHS Markit.

There are charging pads, charging bowls or through-surface type chargers and uncoupled radio frequency (RF) wireless charging. Most of the wireless charging smartphones are using charging pad technology at the moment. In case someone's phone does not support wireless charging, one can add support for wireless charging with a special phone case or wireless charging adapter. By the next year, the best wireless charger is set to be a "Qi" charger.

"Qi," derived from Asian philosophy which means 'vital energy' is an intangible flow of power. "Qi" charger works like other wireless chargers but the devices could be up to 45mm away from the wireless charger's surface rather than touching it directly. Qi charger also uses smaller amount of power.

Smartphone case maker Spigen and Ossia, a wireless charging technology vendor are working on a smartphone case that would be able to charge phones without wires, plugs or pads through over-the-air charging. It is expected to debut in 2020.

The over-the-air charging could deliver small amounts of power at a distance from inches to 3 feet and the devices with smaller batteries can be charged within 30 minutes to an hour.

The technology works on a transmitter which delivers energy in the form of radio waves to devices that have WattUp (RF-based scalable technology) receivers in them. These WattUp receivers convert those radio waves into DC power, which recharges batteries of devices. Wireless charging with WattUp enables both contact-based and over-the-air wireless charging for small electronic devices in an ecosystem.

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First Published Date: 01 Sep, 16:54 IST