Although cell phones have advanced leaps and bounds over the past 10 to 15 years, the way in which they charge has remained largely the same. Many hardware manufacturing companies still rely on some type of wall plugin element to charge up their devices, and although the development of micro USB chargers has made charging quicker, no truly innovative method of charging has emerged until now. In recent years, phone developers have begun to integrate “wireless charging” capabilities into their products. In fact, wireless charging technology has progressed so far within the past few years that the tech can now accommodate a wide range of products besides cell-phones including smart watches, tablets, speakers, and more.
Several methods for wireless phone charging have entered the industry, but the clear market leader is Qi charging. Capable of supporting nearly 700 unique products, Qi charging utilizes electromagnetic induction to create a high frequency magnetic current within the base pad. In this manner, the current created by the pad is strong enough to charge any adjacent wires without coming in direct contact.
Other companies are even working on even more powerful wireless chargers that work almost like wifi in that devices placed within a certain radius can all be charged. For example, Energous Corp is in the midst of developing a product known at WattUp that will be capable of charging devices up to 15 feet away.
Wireless charging is immensely convenient when compared to plug in charging, however, it is still only 70% as efficient. This percentage increases with subsequent advancement in Qi technology, so it is very likely that wireless charging will overtake tradition plug in charging at some point over the next 5 to 10 years.