wireless charging

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  • IKEA will start selling wireless charging lamps and tables

    by 
    Matt Brian
    Matt Brian
    02.28.2015

    After lots of perseverance from smartphone makers, wireless charging is finally starting to make an impact. Many big name phones now support the technology and companies like Starbucks are helping to bring it a wider audience. Now, it's set to receive another big boost, after IKEA, the world's largest furniture retailer, announced the introduction of a new range of furniture that features integrated charging.

  • CES 2015: Energous WattUp wireless charging

    by 
    Steve Sande
    Steve Sande
    01.06.2015

    "Wireless charging" for Apple devices at this point usually consists of wrapping your iPhone or iPad in a special case or attaching a special dongle to the Lightning port and then placing the device on some sort of inductive charging pad (the Qi charging standard from the Wireless Power Consortium is a perfect example of this). How would you like to be able to have your devices charge up automatically whenever you're within range of a special wireless transmitter? That's the premise behind the Energous Corporation WattUp product demoed at CES this year. WattUp is a Bluetooth and RF-enabled transmitter (that black device in the image at the top of this post) that uses Wi-Fi bands to deliver what the company calls "intelligent, scalable power" to devices that require 10 watts or less of power. Up to 12 receiving devices can be charged by one WattUp transmitter at any time, and the company has an app for controlling the order and preference of charges. For example, smartphones or tablets could start charging whenever you walk into your home, while keyboards and remotes might charge at night. Energous wants to license WattUp to manufacturers of wearables, smartphones, and tablets, so we can only hope that the company has approached Apple. I, for one, would love to use a system like this for constant trickle charging of an Apple Watch.

  • Wireless charging for tablets is finally coming next year

    by 
    Devindra Hardawar
    Devindra Hardawar
    12.08.2014

    We're still waiting for the Rezence standard to bring wireless charging to laptops, but Freescale is taking a big step towards making that a reality. It just announced a new wireless product that's powerful enough to recharge tablets, portable medical devices, and other large gadgets. The 15-watt system, which should hit the market early next year, offers three times as much electrical power as Freescale's phone charging solution. It also plays nicely with other standards like the Wireless Power Consortium's Qi technology, VentureBeat reports. (Unfortunately, existing 5-watt devices won't get any upgrade from the 15-watt setup, FreeScale tells us.) If you've ever used a USB battery pack to recharge your gadgets, you've probably noticed that tablets typically need to be plugged into higher wattage USB ports to get juiced up. The same basic idea applies here. Increased power could also mean that tossing your phone on a wireless charger before you run out the door could actually be useful. After all, when charging your phone over a USB cable is three times faster, the minor convenience of wireless is a lot less compelling. [Photo: A Lumia phone on a Nokia wireless charging pad.]

  • Could your washer really charge your smartphone from across the room?

    by 
    Daniel Cooper
    Daniel Cooper
    10.31.2014

    Wireless charging is a little bit more convenient than plugging your device in, but was picking up a microUSB lead ever that much of a chore in the first place? White goods and TV supremos Haier believe so, which is why it's signed a development pact with wireless charging outfit Energous. The latter company's WattUp technology promises to deliver power over the same radio bands as a WiFi router and is apparently able to charge a smartphone from distances of up to 15 feet. The idea, at this early stage, is to cram these power transmitters into Haier's refrigerators, washing machines and microwaves, so that you can re-juice your phone while you wait for your dinner and do your laundry.

  • London to start trialling wirelessly charged buses

    by 
    Matt Brian
    Matt Brian
    08.27.2014

    While London's public transport network is getting more hi-tech by the minute, the city's buses and trains aren't as green as they could be -- at least not yet. Transport for London (TfL) has already deployed 800 hybrid and a handful of all-electric buses on the capital's streets, but keeping them charged isn't easy when they're miles from a depot. In a bid to keep them running as efficiently as possible, TfL has kicked off a new trial that will see inductive charging stations built into four east London bus stops, allowing its Enviro400H E400 hybrid buses to charge wirelessly while they pick up passengers.

  • The QiStone+ is the first wireless power pack for your iDevices

    by 
    Mel Martin
    Mel Martin
    08.19.2014

    If you're like me, you sometimes travel with an external battery pack to keep your iPhone or iPad charged if you are on the road or just can't get to a wall outlet. Those battery packs work well, but they are tethered with a cable to your device. So here's something a bit different. The QiStone+ is a 4000mAh wireless charger. Of course it needs to be charged at some point too, but it has a prodigious amount of power. You can carry it with you and charge your device simply by setting it on top of this rock-like power pack. Specifications Qi Wireless standard Works with all Qi receivers 4000 mAh capacity Can charge with a built in USB port as well Design Highlights The charger looks like a flat stone. Its textured design keeps your device from slipping off the charger surface. It fits in the palm of your hand and will blend with any decor. Functionality Highlights There are a lot of advantages to wireless charging, but of course there's going to need to be a wire somewhere. The QiStone+ will charge your iPhone, but first your phone it will need an iQi accessory -- a thin receiver that plugs into your Lightning port. Once your iPhone has the iQi dongle installed, a case can be placed on the phone as normal. The device is thin enough that most soft cases will fit. A hard case is not recommended for use with the receiver, but some may work. Now it's just a matter of setting your iPhone on the QiStone+. When you are charging, the QiStone+ beeps and a blue LED comes on. The device itself can be charged with the included USB cable which can be plugged into a computer USB port or a wall USB adapter. If you have a Qi wireless pad, you can charge the stone wirelessly from that. You can only wirelessly charge one device at a time, but if you want to plug in another device you can charge one wirelessly and another with a wired connection. Using the Q1Stone+ and Conclusions Setup and use was easy. I plugged the iQi adapter into my iPhone, put my iPhone back into my case, then set the iPhone on the QiStone+ where it immediately started to charge. The QiStone+ sells for U.S. $79.99 on Amazon. The iQi Mobile adapter sells for $35.00. The Qi charging standard is widespread, and there is a whole family of wireless products that support it. The hardware is attractive and easy to use; the only real issue is cost. You can find some really nice wired external chargers for less than half the cost of the QiStone+, and if you don't already live in the Qi ecosystem you'll need to buy an adapter to work with your iPhone. Between the adapter and the QiStone+, you're looking at an expense of $115.00. Although this charger removes the wire from the charger to your phone, you still have to charge the stone so at some point, you will still need a wired AC connection to keep everything functioning. The QiStone+ is an attractive and unique charging solution. The wireless feature is effective and well thought out. If it fits your day-to-day charging workflow, it is worth a serious look.

  • Sproutling's new wearable tracks your infant's sleep patterns

    by 
    Steve Dent
    Steve Dent
    08.07.2014

    Baby wearables. With the boom in fitness trackers, you must've seen them coming, right? Now, a pair of ex-Apple and Google employees has launched the Sproutling baby monitor, a device the company likens to Nest in terms of design and simplicity. Unlike the Withings Baby Monitor camera, however, it's meant to be worn around your baby's ankle. That way, it can monitor parameters like heart rate, skin temperature and body movement, while also tracking the room's temperature, humidity and light levels. All that data is sent to a smartphone app, which crunches it to create simple notifications. For instance, it can tell you whether her heart rate is higher than normal, if she's sleeping on her back, if it's warmer than ideal in the room or whether she's now awake and not in a good mood.

  • GM is bringing wireless phone charging to some Cadillac cars

    by 
    Edgar Alvarez
    Edgar Alvarez
    07.28.2014

    General Motors may be going through a rough patch at the moment, but that's not stopping the company from setting its sights on the future. Today, the Detroit-based automaker revealed that it plans to put wireless charging pads inside a number of Cadillac vehicles, starting with the launch of the 2015 ATS sport sedan and coupe later in the fall. Although the announcement highlights the compatibility with Powermat, a General Motors representative has confirmed to Engadget that the feature also supports Qi and "other in-phone wireless charging technologies." What's more, GM says this is coming to more vehicles soon (as had been previously reported), with the Cadillac CTS, Cadillac Escalade, GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado expected to be added to the list in Q4 of this year.

  • Volvo building an electric roadway to wirelessly charge buses

    by 
    Sean Cooper
    Sean Cooper
    05.27.2014

    Not content with its energy-sipping plug in hybrid buses, energy-friendly Gothenburg, the Volvo Group and Swedish Transport Administration have announced grand plans to hopefully augment its Hyper Bus fleet with inductive charging. Hyper Bus, or Hybrid and Plug-in Extended Range Bus system, recharges its power supply with a quick charging rig that takes only five to eight minutes to top up power at the end of the line. This quick charge enables the bus to run most of its route on electric power alone because it doesn't need to stop for hours to juice up. One-upping itself, the program is now looking at creating a test route dubbed: ElectriCity -- clever, right? -- which will feature a 300 to 500 meter (roughly 1000 to 1500 feet) inductive charging pathway. Aimed at replacing those quick charging stations, the test route will zap the bus' power source wirelessly while it's in motion. The group hopes to have a system up and running in central Gothenburg sometime in mid-2015. Bonus? If your stop happens to be near the wireless charging area, someday laying a phone down on the road could help boost your battery life -- or melt the handset -- while you wait.

  • Audi's latest hybrid concept car takes the TT family offroad, with 408HP under the hood

    by 
    Richard Lawler
    Richard Lawler
    04.19.2014

    Audi's latest prototype packing an E-Tron hybrid drivetrain is this TT Offroad Concept that takes the TT family beyond the coupes and convertibles we're familiar with. Going on display at the Beijing Motor Show, it combines two electric motors (one on each axle) with a 292HP turbocharged combustion engine to produce up to 408 horsepower total. The concept is even quipped with wireless charging tech, making the "plug-in" hybrid possible to charge simply by parking in the right spot. As a result, despite having all that power available, Audi claims it can average up to 123.8 MPG. As Autoblog points out, it shares a number of characteristics with the Allroad Shooting Brake concept Audi showed off at the Detroit Auto Show a few months ago. According to Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development, "it shows how we might imagine a new model in the future TT family." So tell us, are you lusting after yet another E-Tron concept, or hoping Audi goes back to the drawing board on this crossover?

  • RAVPower's Wireless Charger cuts the cord on iPhone charging

    by 
    Steve Sande
    Steve Sande
    02.21.2014

    Wireless chargers using the Qi (pronounced "chee") inductive power standard are beginning to pick up steam, although none of Apple's products at this time support the standard. The idea is simple: instead of plugging in your device to charge it, you simply lay it on top of a wireless charger and it receives a charge through induction. RAVPower's Wireless Charger (US$35.99) is a great example of one of these chargers, and we were able to test one with the assistance of a Mocreo Qi-enabled charging case for iPhone 5. Specifications Dimensions: 5.7" x 3.11" x 0.31" (14.48 x 7.9 x .79 cm) Weight: 4.5 ounces (127.6 gm) Input: DC 5V, 1.5A Output: 5V, 1A Max Interface for charging pad: USB to micro-USB cable Available in black or white finishes Design Highlights The RAVPower Wireless Charger is quite attractive, a thin white slab with what appears to be a large power button in the middle. Don't be fooled, though -- that'd just a "target" for the best place to place your iPhone while charging. That target appears to be magnetic as well, since the case seemed to be attracted to it and aligned itself when dropped onto the charger pad. As for a Qi-enabled iPhone charging case, you can find an assortment of them on most online retail websites such as Amazon or Newegg. The Mocreo case provided by RAVPower for this review is a perfect example of an inexpensive "jacket" that your iPhone can wear all the time -- you then just drop the phone/case combo onto the Wireless Charger to top off your iPhone's battery. One interesting tidbit on the RAVPower website points out that once the phone is charged or removed, the Wireless Charger goes into idle mode to conserve energy. Functionality I'd love to say that I was immediately whisked into the happy world of wireless charging during my testing, but that's not the case. In fact, the case seemed to be the problem! The first time I plopped the iPhone and Mocreo case combo onto the Wireless Charger, I was greeted with a message telling me that the case wasn't a certified product and that it might not work properly all the time. Sure enough, it wouldn't charge the first time around. I took the case off of the iPhone 5s and put it back on, and was then happy to see the "charging" lightning bolt show up on the iPhone's status bar when I put the case/phone combo back onto the RAVPower Wireless Charger. On occasion, I'm still seeing that error message about the case not being certified, but for the most part it goes away once I remove and replace the case and try again. The only other indications you get that things are working properly are a faint, high-pitched beep from the charger pad and an LED that flashes green and red. RAVPower notes that Qi-compliant wireless chargers only charge at about 75 to 85 percent of the rate of wired chargers. As such, charging will take longer. As the company points out, that can be counteracted by the ease with which you can recharge the iPhone by just dropping it onto the charging pad whenever you aren't using it. That's exactly what I began doing during my testing. As I'd walk away from my desk, I'd pick up the iPhone and the charging would stop. When I'd come back, I dropped the iPhone back onto the pad. It's a lot less of a hassle than grabbing a Lightning plug and popping it into the port. Conclusion Despite an early glitch brought on by the Mocreo Qi-enabled case, I found Qi wireless charging of my iPhone 5s through the RAVPower Wireless Charger to be a total revelation. The product is well-designed, and it makes me wish that Apple would embrace the Qi standard for charging of future iPhones and iPads. Are you listening, Cupertino? For another take on a similar wireless charger from TUAW's Mel Martin, be sure to take a look at his review from earlier this week of the iQi Mobile Receiver and its matching Qi charging pad. Rating: 3-1/2 stars out of 4 stars possible Giveaway Step into the future of wireless charging! We're giving away the test gear that we received from RAVPower, including the Wireless Charger and the Mocreo Qi-enabled case for iPhone 5/5s. Here are the rules for the giveaway: Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older. To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button. The entry must be made before February 25, 2014 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time. You may enter only once. One winner will be selected and will receive both a RAVPower Wireless Charger valued at $39.99 and a Mocreo Qi-Enabled Wireless Charging Jacket for iPhone 5/5s valued at $16.90. Click Here for complete Official Rules. Loading...

  • Crowdfunded Project News: The best of Kickstarter, Indiegogo and the rest

    by 
    Steve Sande
    Steve Sande
    02.19.2014

    Every week, TUAW provides readers with an update on what new or significant crowdfunded Apple-related projects are in the news. While our policy is to not go into detail on items that haven't reached at least 80 percent of their funding goal, this update is designed to give readers a heads-up on projects they might find interesting enough to back. Note that we're not covering those "projects" on Indiegogo where people are trying to get someone else to cough up money for a new computer or tablet... From Kickstarter The ARK is ready to set sail. With a little over a week to go in its campaign, this next generation portable wireless charger (using the Qi wireless charging standard) is 300 percent funded. At this point, iPhone 5/5s users will need to pledge US$79 or more to get an ARK and a wireless charging case that works with their phone. The cool thing about ARK is that it is also a portable backup battery that you can take with you to wirelessly charge your iPhone. LabNation's SmartScope is another very popular project, well over 520 percent funded with a little over a day to go. It's a 100MS/s open source oscilloscope for iPad, and an excellent idea for anyone who develops for Arduino, Raspberry Pi, or does their own circuit design and testing. A great way to turn your iPad or iPhone into an oscilloscope. Remember iCPooch, the Internet pet treat delivery and video chat station that we covered in an earlier roundup? It's now 111 percent funded with 12 days to go. If you feel guilty about leaving your pet at home during the day while you're at work, backing iCPooch will help you feel better about yourself. Gazer's digital gimbal stabilizer for iPhone is an amazing little device, using a gyrostabilized mount to make your iPhone videography look amazingly professional. With 20 days to go, the project has only raised 45 percent of its funding. From Indiegogo BluCub is a Bluetooth-enabled wireless thermometer and hygrometer measuring a tiny 50 x 50 x 20 mm. Operating on a single replaceable battery for three years, it transmits humidity and temperature information to your favorite iOS device every ten seconds. A very cool idea -- why there's no built-in ambient temperature measurement in our iPhones has been a mystery to me for years! This has a month to go, and needs your support as it's only about 8 percent of the way to being funded. Hat tip to Hal Sherman for bringing BluCub and the following item to our attention. Rawlemon Solar Devices is a company that is pushing spherical solar concentrators as a way to more efficiently utilize solar power, especially in northern climes. To give the idea a boost, they've created a small version of its device called the Beta.ey that uses the spherical solar concentrator idea to create a smartphone charger by day, LED light by night. Quite cool and 81 percent funded with 11 days left in the campaign. WiseButton has already raised much more money than required with a month yet to go. It's a "keychain wearable" device that can be used with an iPhone or other smartphone to serve as a remote for your iPhone or iPad while playing music or videos, or running presentations. It will also alert you if you leave your iPhone behind, and can be used with the Wise Button Sticker to track other items. Very cool looking, nicely presented, and it looks like it may be go for launch. If you're aware of any other crowdfunded Apple-related projects, be sure to let us know about them through the Tip Us button at the upper right of the TUAW home page for possible future consideration.

  • iQi Mobile Receiver: Wireless charging for the iPhone 5 family

    by 
    Mel Martin
    Mel Martin
    02.18.2014

    Wireless inductive charging seems to be a kind of Holy Grail lately -- a lot of companies are on the quest to bring it to all smartphone and tablet devices. I recently reviewed a battery case that charges an iPhone wirelessly. It's actually pretty nice to walk into the house or office, and put my iPhone down on a charging pad to top off the battery. There are no cables involved and no hassle. Of course, there is a power cable to the charging pad, but that doesn't have to be constantly plugged and unplugged. iQi (pronounced i-chee) has an interesting new product called the iQi Mobile Receiver that provides wireless charging using your own soft case. It doesn't work with rigid polycarbonate iPhone cases. Specifications Wireless Receiver: Qi compatible Fits most soft iPhone cases for iPhone 5, 5c and 5s Requires USB 2.0 or later Charger Pads Cable is USB/micro USB Micro USB input: DC 5V, 500-2100 mA No alignment or magnets needed Power Transmission Distance: 8mm Design Highlights The iQi Mobile Receiver (US$35.11) is a thin card only 0.5 mm thick attached to a flexible ribbon cable that plugs into your Lightning port. The card portion wraps around to the back of the phone, and then you slide your phone into its existing soft case to hide the receiver. You'll also need a Qi charging pad to complete the charging solution. A pad roughly in the shape of your phone is $42.00, and a smaller hockey puck-shaped charger runs $45.00. Those charging pads are plugged into a USB port on an AC adapter or computer. When you set your receiver-equipped phone down on the charging pad, the charging starts. The iQi Mobile Receiver was the result of an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that surpassed its goal in just 10 days. Functionality Highlights The iQi Mobile Receiver is simple to install, although you have to take care to not over-flex the thin ribbon cable. An adhesive sticker is provided to attach the receiver card to the back of your iPhone 5 so that the card doesn't flop around inside your case. With the card installed and the phone placed Into a soft case, you will barely notice any increase in thickness. The charging pads emit a green light when connected to power. When your phone is in the proper charging position, that light turns blue. If the charging pad beeps several times, it is telling you the position of the phone needs to be adjusted. Conclusions I found wireless charging to be totally addictive. When you get used to it, it takes away the hassle of plugging and unplugging charging cables. The iQi system works well. If you don't have a soft case for your phone, the Mobile Receiver comes with a silicone case that protects the phone and keeps everything aligned. The Lightning connector that's used with the Mobile Receiver is not Apple MFi (Made For iPhone) approved, and you may see a message appear on your iPhone screen telling you that. Just dismiss the message and charging should continue without issue. Some Samsung smartphones provide iQi as an optional extra, and a few Google Nexus smartphones offer wireless charging options as well. At this point, Apple doesn't provide a Qi charging option, so this is a workable solution. Charging isn't quite as fast as when directly connected to a charger, but I found the speeds to be acceptable. Unlike the Aero Wireless Charging case reviewed last week, the iQi solution does not provide extended battery life -- it's just a charging solution for your current phone. The Aero costs $99.95, while the cheapest iQi solution (after purchasing the receiver and charging pad) runs about $76.00. Consumers need to decide if the extra battery life provided by the Aero case is worth the extra expense and how important it is to retain your existing soft case. The iQi wireless charging system works very well and lets any iPhone 5 charge without cables attached to the phone (other than the one-time receiver plug-in). I have a few worries about the lifespan of the flexible ribbon cable and that the Lightning connector is not Apple approved. Future Apple updates could possibly disable charging if unapproved hardware is attached.

  • New wireless charging partnerships could mean fewer cables in your junk drawer

    by 
    Emily Price
    Emily Price
    02.11.2014

    In 2012, Qualcomm and Samsung joined forces to start The Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), one of many organizations competing to establish a universal standard for wireless charging. A4WP envisions a wire-free future, but chances are you're still packing a series of cables to keep your gadgets juiced up. However, the group just announced a pair of partnerships that could lead to a more unified standard and less corded clutter. WiTricity, one of the major competitors in the wireless-charging space, and the Power Matters Alliance (PMA), a leader in inductive wireless charging, joined forces with A4WP today. While they each have their own wireless charging solutions, the PMA and A4WP have committed to sharing some of their specifications to create a wireless power couple of sorts. McDonald's and Starbucks stores already use the PMA's standard in their charging stations. In 2011, WiTricity announced a partnership that will see its contact-less, long-field magnetic resonance used to power up Toyotas. With the new partnership, it plans to innovate on and incorporate A4WP's Rezence specifications into its designs. Rezence, A4WP's consumer-facing brand, uses near-field resonant technology to allow users to wirelessly charge several devices with different charging specifications simultaneously. We've yet to see a real-life device sporting Rezence certification, but A4WP showed off a prototype during CES last year, and announced its first certifications last month. WiTricity joined A4WP as a sponsor, which means it gets a seat on its eight-member board of directors, alongside Broadcom, Intel, Qualcomm and Samsung. The group's main competition comes from Qi's Wireless Power Consortium, where Qualcomm also sits on the board.

  • Aero Wireless Charging cases for iPhone 5s and 5

    by 
    Mel Martin
    Mel Martin
    02.10.2014

    There are plenty of battery cases available for the iPhone, all built to keep our devices going. Mophie sells a popular option and now uNu is offering a wireless charging case that works with the Aero Wireless Case. This combination uses induction to get the job done. Once inside the case, just place the phone on the small charging mat. There is no cable between the phone and the mat, although the mat itself must be plugged it. The case and mat list for US$99.95 by the manufacturer (you'll also find it on Amazon). The case is offered in black or white, and is designed for the iPhone 5s/5. Specifications Battery Type: Li-Polymer Capacity: 3.7V/2,000 mAh Dimensions: 138 x 63.8 x 15.3 mm Weight: Approx. 70.2 g Charging Pad Input: micro-USB Design Highlights Using the Aero Wireless Charging Case is easy enough. The case for your phone is in two pieces. Put your phone on the base that contains the battery, and lock a piece of protecting trim on top of it. It seems secure enough, but I expect a drop onto a hard surface could let the trim piece separate from the base. There are pass-through buttons that allow you to activate volume and power and there is a hole for the camera and flash. There are also pass-through ports for charging the phone and battery case with a micro-USB cable (provided). The charging pad uses the same USB connector to power the case. An AC adapter is not included, but you can charge from any charger with a USB port, or your Mac. Functionality Highlights Use couldn't be easier. Whenever I charge my iPhone with Apple's Lightning cable, I feel I'm straining the hardware, and eventually, somewhere the connection would age and fail. Meanwhile, my Mophie requires the micro-USB connector to be placed in exactly the right way, which is tricky to do in the dark. With the Aero, I can set the phone down at any angle, and as long as the little, flush charging pins contact the base, I'm getting power. When you get used to it, it's hard to go back to the old ways. I estimate charging time from flat at about four to five hours. Conclusion The Aero Wireless Charging setup works well, and is simple to use. It had one anomaly, or at least something I hadn't expected. Most battery packs let you discharge the phone, and then turn on the battery pack for more time. Many of these packs let you just leave both batteries on while they drain simultaneously. The Aero drains your phone battery, then you have to engage the battery case with a small button on the back. I'd really like the option to drain both and not have to worry about it, even if there is a small battery life penalty. That same button also serves as a battery meter. Give it a quick press, and little LEDs give you a pretty good idea of how far along the battery is before it is depleted. All in all, I like the Aero Wireless Battery Case a great deal. You can buy additional Charging Pads for $25.00, so you could have one at home, the office or even in your car if you had a secure location for it. Apple has a bucket of patents on wireless charging, but nothing has come to market. Duracell offers what it calls the Access Case for $49.99 list and a Powermat at $39.99. Another hardware solution catching on is the iQi Mobile Charger, which uses a thin ribbon cable that fits inside most iPhone cases, and attaches to the Lightning port. I'll be getting a sample of the iQi soon for a separate test. Wireless charging is a seductive feature. While plugging a cable in to charge a phone is not a big deal, I really prefer the wireless method.

  • Resonance charging is coming to Qi devices soon

    by 
    Brad Molen
    Brad Molen
    01.06.2014

    Qi is one of the most popular wireless charging standards out there, but it's certainly not perfect -- and its limitations have been a burden that its competitors like the A4WP Rezence have taken advantage of. One of its most pressing issues is the fact that it only supports inductive charging, which means you need to stick your phone or tablet directly on the charging pad in a very specific fashion, lest you wake up in the morning to a dead device. The WPC has been working on righting that wrong, however, because it's come to Vegas with resonance charging prototypes. The new transmitter is able to charge any Qi device from up to 18 millimeters away and through obstructions; it's backwards compatible, so older phones and tablets are included. Reps weren't able to give us an estimated time of arrival, but the prototype was definitely convincing enough, which tells us it shouldn't be too far away. As we expected, the transmitter we saw tonight is less efficient than a standard inductive charger -- it's currently at around 65 percent -- but we were told that this wrinkle is a result of this early unit and will continue to improve as the tech develops.

  • Future Sony smartphones could recharge wirelessly in just an hour

    by 
    Daniel Cooper
    Daniel Cooper
    10.18.2013

    Yes, it's futuristic, but that ponderous trickle of energy from base station to device isn't great for impatient types. Sony, however, thinks that it's solved the problem of slow wireless charging with its latest invention. The new unit, based on a forthcoming version of the Qi standard, promises to pump 10 to 15 watts of energy into your device -- theoretically cutting charging times down to just an hour. While so much power would normally cause your smartphone to overheat and combust, chip and power company Rohm promises that its new control chips can handle the temperature issues. Unfortunately, we won't be seeing this hardware turn up in Xperia phones until the second half of 2014, but at least that means we've got some time to recycle all of our cables.

  • Verizon claims its LG G2 variant comes with exclusive wireless charging

    by 
    Daniel Cooper
    Daniel Cooper
    08.15.2013

    LG launched the G2 without any mention of wireless charging, but Verizon seems to have scooped that feature for its own variant of the handset. On its sign-up sheet, Big Red is claiming that the CDMA version will come with "exclusive wireless charging," and the accompanying image also shows a slightly different design to the rear buttons. Exactly the sort of thing rival carrier CEOs like to squabble over.

  • BlackBerry Z30 listed as supporting Qi wireless charging

    by 
    Daniel Cooper
    Daniel Cooper
    08.13.2013

    Just before a smartphone turns up at the debutante ball, the internet comes alive with frenzied claims about what the new hardware will offer. While most of 'em turn out to be wishful thinking on behalf of whoever entered the data, we imagine that standards are a little stricter over at the Wireless Power Consortium. It's there that a listing has popped up claiming that BlackBerry's as-yet unannounced Z30 will support Qi wireless charging. The listing goes on to say that the smartphone will pack a medium power receiver, capable of pulling 120 watts from a charger, which should be enough to juice that (rumored) 2,800mAh battery in short order.

  • Starbucks to expand wireless charging program

    by 
    Megan Lavey-Heaton
    Megan Lavey-Heaton
    07.29.2013

    AllThingsD reports that Starbucks is expanding its experimental wireless charging program to the West Coast. The program will roll out at 10 stores in the San Jose area in August. It introduced the program in a number Boston-area stores using Duracell Powermats, a PMA-standard wireless charging mat which allows those phones with compatible Duracell cases to simply rest it on the mat to receive power. The cases retail for about US$35 for the iPhone 4 and 4S and $50 for the iPhone 5, and AllThingsD adds that Starbucks and Duracell have been giving away sleeves to frequent customers. AllThingsD draws attention to the competing standards for wireless charging technology, but Apple will most likely be another keen observer as the program unfolds in the San Jose area. It published a patent for wireless charging technology in November 2012, and experiments by third-party case makers with wireless charging stretch back to 2009. If anyone has the ability to standardize wireless charging, it's Starbucks. If Apple develops a phone that does wireless charging in compliance with the PMA standard, combined with Starbucks' program, it could go mainstream very quickly.