If there’s one thing we like better than a big battery in a mobile phone, it's a faster charging, bigger-ass battery on a mobile phone. Which you can charge wirelessly. Why not, right?
Much like what George Bernard Shaw said about humanity’s progress being dependent on the unreasonable man, being demanding isn’t always all that bad. While we can’t make high capacity batteries with a small form factor yet, at least the human race is making inroads in charging them faster.
Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0, which was announced in 2013 and hit the mainstream this year on a slew of flagship devices, promised up to 75% faster charging times, thanks to the ability to handle higher voltages and amperages. Phones like the HTC M8 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (which uses Samsung’s proprietary method) can charge up to 60% and 50% capacity in 30 minutes, respectively. It won’t be long before it becomes a ‘standard’ feature.
So where does that leave wireless charging? Current 5W wireless chargers, while infinitely more convenient (and less messy), charge batteries at an infinitesimally faster rate than a garden snail traversing the length of the botanical gardens. But that changes now.
Freescale Semiconductor, a component supplier to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) has thankfully bridged that gap by announcing integrated circuits for 15 watt wireless chargers – an industry first – thus bringing balance back to the ‘qi’ (which loosely means force in Mandarin; cross-language pun for the win).
It goes without saying that you’ll need the right hardware to enable this feature. However it’s not too complicated: a new chip needs to be installed in your smartphone or tablet to work with their supercharged charging pad. Freescale’s design can be tweaked to comply with the Qi standard, or even the Power Matters Alliance standard, which is a big plus.
Freescale hopes to keep pushing the wattage envelope for wireless devices even higher, and hopefully it won’t be long before we’re seeing the days of charging any consumer electronic device and household appliance wirelessly.
But for now we’re just looking forward to the first quarter of 2015, when Freescale makes its chips and reference designs available to OEMs (and that these guys pick up on it, of course).