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Wireless Charging, a Fantasy or the Future?

By Vincent Wang
Published: Oct 03,2014

More and more companies have stepped into the field of wireless charger IC and planned to put it into mass production in the fourth quarter, including ENE Technology, Holtek Semiconductor, and Generalplus is going to unveil new wireless charger IC that the conversion efficiency rate to reach 80 percent.

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Unfortunately, the new iPhone 6 doesn't function wireless charging.


Inductive charging or wireless charing uses an electromagnetic field to transfer energy between two objects. This is usually done with a charging station. Energy is sent through an inductive coupling to an electrical device, which can then use that energy to charge batteries or run the device.



Figure 1 :  Consumers are looking forward to have wireless charging built-in devices. The picture is a result of a DIY website.
Figure 1 : Consumers are looking forward to have wireless charging built-in devices. The picture is a result of a DIY website.

Taiwanese IC firms have been sowing in the wirelss charger field, maybe it's time to reap it. There's a advantage of Taiwanese IC firms to penetrate the wireless charger, which is low cost of the product.


According to IHS iSuppli, there were over 5 million electronic devices that are paired with the wireless charger function in 2012, IHS forecasted that there will be more than 100 million electronic devices feature this.


However, currently the conversion efficiency rate of wireless charger transmitter is around 70 to 75 percent, while that of the receiver is around 70 percent. There are rooms to improve the conversion efficiency for all the IC firms. Therefore, Generalplus is going to unveil new wireless charger IC that the conversion efficiency rate to reach 80 percent.



Figure 2
Figure 2

Inductive charging technology is in the limelight, ASUS first debuted its inductive charging smartphone PadFone S, packaged with a inductive charger PW100, retail price is NT$1,499 dollars, which is a OEM product of Xiaomi's upperstream supplier Formosa Electronic.


Inductive charging technology is promising, ASUS's PadFone S featured inductive charging Qi standard rule, and can charge the phone's 9-inch tablet. PadFone S sells NT$9,999 in the market, packaged with a inductive charger, which is assembled by Wistron, and OEM by Formosa Electronic.


As PadFone S and ZenFone 5 LTE sold out 20 thousand units, orders from Formosa Electronic is bound to rise.


ASUS currently applied inductive technology in its high-end PadFone series, so the inductive charging smartphone won't occupy much in its year-end sales report. PadFone sold out 500 thousand to 600 thousand units in 2013, occupied one out of ten since ASUS's total smartphone sold 1.5 million units in 2013.


According to an earlier report, Chen Rui-cong, Chairperson at Compal Electronics, said that he is optimistic about inductive charging technology in smartphone market, but he doesn't think it will be that promising in the laptop market. Now smartphones use charging line to plug into the electrical outlet or USB to charge up, when it plugged in and out to a certain times, it is easily out of function. Inductive charging will solve these problems.


Formosa Electronic is a mobile electricity and battery developer, which became Xiaomi's supply chain, boosting its performance a lot.



Figure 3 :   It is easy to have a wireless charging function, but the efficiency and battery management is big issue
Figure 3 : It is easy to have a wireless charging function, but the efficiency and battery management is big issue

Relatively, Chen Qiu-yun, Director of the Yahoo! Shopping, said that so far there's no such a mainstream inductive charging product announced, “Products are in limited choice, the feature of inductive charging products is without the USB line.”


Chen Qiu-yun pointed out that answering phone calls while charging with USB line is very dangerous, if the inductive charging products are popularized, it would be convenient to answer phone calls while charging. She suggested that the inductive charging products will be widely accepted in the future, but the problem is how to reduce the price of inductive charging products.


It is said that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus would feature the inductive charging, it turned out to be a false prediction, which made inductive charging is still not that popular.


Wu Jin-rong, General Manger of Explore Microelectronics, said that the the conversion efficiency rate of inductive charging is around percent, while that of the USB charging is around 90 percent so that it's more suitable to be used in phone charging than NB charging.



Figure 4 :   ASUS’s wireless inductive charger PW100
Figure 4 : ASUS’s wireless inductive charger PW100

On the other hand, Intel has announced that its wireless charging bowl, which is a prototype of which it unveiled at CES in January, and it will be available on the market by the end of this year.


Approximately 10 inches in diameter and using magnetic resonance technology based on the A4WP standard, the bowl and accompanying stand can charge multiple devices simultaneously without requiring exact placement, Intel said.


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