The nascent wireless charging market is set to explode this year, according to a new report from research firm IHS iSuppli. The report said the market, which totaled $123.9 million in 2010, is set to grow more than sevenfold to $885.8 million in 2011.
According to iSuppli, the huge growth of wireless charging in 2011 will crush the 60 percent expansion the market achieved in 2010, the first year of meaningful growth. It also expected to surpass the 276 percent increase iSuppli expects in 2012. The research firm said growth will then begin to slow, although there will still be 48 percent growth in 2015 when revenue hits $23.7 billion.
"With the appeal of such solutions, companies are lining up to offer wireless charging despite various technological and standardization issues slowing mass-market adoption," iSuppli analyst Tina Teng said in a statement. According to the research firm mobile phones will make up the largest share of wireless charging revenue not only because of the expected surge in smartphone sales but because of the participation of brand names in manufacturing.
Despite the rosy forecasts, there are barriers to adoption, which iSuppli said include the time it will take for manufacturers to fully implement the technology in their devices. Manufacturers will need to consider how to integrate wireless charging into the design of printed circuit boards, and large-scale adoption will be needed to drive down costs. Additionally, there are competing visions for how the market should unfold.
There are around half a dozen serious players in the wireless charging business, and one of the key players is Powermat (a 2010 Fierce 15 winner), which makes both wireless charging mats and receivers, and arguably has the most visibility in the industry. Another player is Duracell, which has a similar solution called myGrid. Both companies have signed letters of intent to work with Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) on developing an industry alliance to work on wireless charging solutions. (Meantime, Qualcomm is promoting its own "WiPower" technology, which is a new, near-field magnetic resonance technology.)
Separately, the Wireless Power Consortium has been busy finalizing the Qi wireless charging standard, and has signed up at least 81 mobile companies to support the standard to promote interoperability. One of the Consortium's members is Energizer, which has its own inductive charger. In addition, Hewlett-Packard is promoting its Touchstone inductive charging technology, which it scooped up when it bought Palm in 2010.
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