Wireless charging: Pointless today, claims analysts, but maybe in 5 years

The current enthusiasm for wireless charging, as seen with the Palm Pre device, offers little, if any, benefit to users, claims a new study by Strategy Analytics. According to the company, the developers of wireless charging systems such as Palm's Touchstone for the Pre or WildCharge's eponymous system are currently falling significantly short of their potential.

The way forward for wireless high-speed charging, says Stephen Entwistle of Strategy Analytics, is by using super capacitors. "These components have been around for many years and are now just beginning to be designed into cell phones, mainly for camera flash applications where their ability to deliver a high level of power for a short period is ideal. We believes that the technology will continue to mature and will nicely complement wireless chargers."

By combining super capacitors with wireless, the market research firm believes that high-speed wireless chargers could become popular, penetrating over 22 per cent of handset sales by 2014. "By this time, the price could have fallen to around US$15 and the value proposition of wireless speed charging could significantly increase," said the firm.

Present day wireless charging solutions, like the Touchstone charger for the Palm Pre, use induction technology to transfer power over short distances, at about the same speed as a wired charger. Other technology developers, such as Qualcomm, have developed prototype wireless chargers which they estimate will become a commercial reality in two to three years. However, induction charging is not considered by many as the route forward, with Qualcomm promoting its own RF charging technology.

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EE Times

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