Wireless power. You’ve heard about it, you want it…but until we get our hands on it, there’s just the existing wireless charging tech to please your wire-free urges. Except that, according to Strategy Analytics, it’s kind of useless.
So says the firm’s recent analysis, which is mainly about trumpeting how revolutionary supercapacitor tech will be when it arrives. This is the upcoming tech which stores electrical charge much more efficiently than our current crop of Li-ion batteries, by piling up electrons on extraordinarily insulated surfaces–it’s much less lossy than the chemical limits of a battery. According to SA, combining wireless charging with supercapacitor tech could result in the system being used in 22% of handsets by 2014, which implies it’s really going to take off.
Until that (undoubtedly wonderful) technical marriage is made however, SA notes that the current type of wireless charging solution, like that in Palm’s Pre Touchstone system, offers “little benefit to users on its own, without the added boost of a super capacitor.” The Touchstone system’s “high price” isn’t worth it.
As an argument, this is about as rubbish as someone saying, back in 1996 when USB was being unveiled: “USB doesn’t really offer you much more than parallel cable–just wait until wireless USB arrives!” Sure, it’s not combined with fabulous supercapacitors, but the benefits of existing wireless charging tech are, in fact, plain and simple. To charge your gizmo, you merely have to whip it out of your pocket, and pop it roughly in place on the charging point–no cables and less wear-and-tear on the docking port of your favorite (and expensive) smartphone. You’re also, I suggest, much more likely to keep your phone full of charge thanks to the added convenience and reduced fussing with sockets and plugs. It’s also surprisingly cheap to implement–a teardown of the Palm Touchstone suggests the components total up to a tiny $5. That suggests Palm is indeed overcharging for the system, and that you can probably expect to see it in more of your gizmos soon.