Wireless Charging: Time to Cut the Cord?
Last week, while I was rummaging through the “phone drawer” in my kitchen (which consists of a rat’s nest of charging cables and various power bricks), I came across something I had forgotten I had purchased entirely. The wireless charger for my Samsung Galaxy S5. I took it out, plugged it into the wall and sat my S7 Edge on it. I was initially surprised it still worked, but the discovery led me on a trip to find the current state of wireless charging.
Embrace the Qi
Perhaps the biggest advancement made since I purchased that charger is that an international standard has been created to ensure wireless chargers will work across as wide a variety of devices as possible. Enter Qi, the namesake of the standard. Under these rules, a Qi-certified charger can charge a device up to 4cm away from the coil. It also means that it doesn’t matter what brand or operating system your phone runs on, as long as its compatible with the standard it will work on any wireless charger.
A Very Nice Price
When I purchased that charger back in 2015, it cost me just short of €75. Today, you can buy a Qi wireless charger from as little as €10 on Amazon! This cheaper price has allowed wireless charging to become much more accessible to the mainstream market and as the result, the rate of the innovation in the technology has increased exponentially. A decent Micro USB or Type C won’t be much cheaper than the wireless charger, making it an appealing purchase for anyone looking for a new gadget. As a happy side effect, most chargers also have quite a nice aesthetic value and are much nicer to look at than a bunch of tangled cables!
But wait, there’s more
At the moment, there is one drawback to the wireless charger. To juice up your device, you have to leave it sitting on the pad or cradle, meaning its not truly wireless. However, this could be resolved in the next few years as magnetic induction technology (the science behind the wireless bit) improves. There are already prototypes of a room-sized wireless charger that could charge your device from meters away.
This is what really makes the technology ahead of its time. While the basics are there, it is no easier to use than plugging your device into the wall socket. However, I do believe that sooner rather than later we will be cutting the cord and truly wireless charging will become a common feature of our homes, offices, and cafés in the near future.