Prediction: long-range wireless charging will become a standard option in most phones

11
Dec. 2018

Prediction

Within 5 years, 80% of high-end phones and 20% of entry-level phones will include long-range wireless charging.

Rationale

Once in a while, a new technology comes along and deliver a benefit so substantial that it’s clear it will become mainstream.

For mobile phones:

  • Bluetooth solved a big problem of headphone cables getting tangled and interfering with freedom of motion.
  • The touch screen made navigation and user interface so much easier than scrolling through menus using arrow keys.
  • Wi-Fi allowed smartphones to operate faster and more reliable in areas where cellular communication was not strong or fast.

Indeed, these technologies are now part of practically all high-end phones and most low-end models as well.

We predict that long-range wireless charging – the ability to charge a phone without contact at a distance – will become one of these technologies.

Battery capacity continues to be a major – perhaps THE major – problem in mobile phones. New battery technologies and features like “dark mode” help, but batteries still need to be charged too often, forcing us to actively manage battery life.

Magnetic induction (“Qi”) charging adds convenient in cable-free charging, but phones still need to be carefully placed and aligned on charging pads. Long-range charging will make phones appear as if they charge themselves: at the office, at home, and even in the car. Because it solves such a major problem, we believe that deployment of this technology is nearly inevitable.

While the technology can be demonstrated today, widespread deployment of both power transmitters and embedded power receivers is still not imminent. That’s why we predict a five-year horizon.

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