The mobile phone industry has been leading the way when it comes to taking up new technology and ideas. Sometimes it succeeds whilst on other occasions it fails miserably. Whilst I fear that wireless payments via your smartphone, called NFC, will have little success in replacing a debit or credit card I do think that wireless charging of mobile phones is set to make a big impact this year.
There are several reasons for my thinking and the benefits have to exist as well. First of all the mobile phone manufactures should be applauded for jumping on board with the Qi standard. To us this means that the technology will be the same and completely interchangeable between manufactures of phones and suppliers of the charging pads.
My second reasoning comes in news from the McDonald's food chain who are about to start trialling the wireless charging pads in their European restaurants. Other cafes, hotels and airport lounges are sure to follow.
So how does wireless charging work?
Fortunately we don't need to get too involved to understand the process. The wireless-charging pad takes a normal electrical current and passes this through an induction coil that turns the electricity into an electromagnetic field. The mobile phone then does the reverse. An induction coil picks up the energy in the electromagnetic field and converts this through the induction coil back into an electric current that then charges the mobile phone.
Any charging pad will do as the Qi standard makes its benefits known whilst as on the mobile phone side of things some manufacturers have built the technology into the smartphones whilst others offer a special back cover or sleeve into which the phone can sit. Charging pads, sleeves and back covers will of course be sold as an extra but this may change in the near future as the idea takes hold. The benefit to the end user is of course that they can recharge their phone when and about without the need to carry a mobile phone charger.
Too good to be true?
A great question! Firstly the technology reduces the risk of electric shock or damage to the product by having no exposed conductors. The device will not be effected by corrosion caused by either water or oxygen in the atmosphere and one charging pad could be used to charger other devices such as cameras and tablets if they too have wireless charging systems on the Qi standard.
Next we see a steady development in the technology that aims to overcome several minor issues. These include that fact that the system isn't energy efficient, is slower to charge than a mains charger and the hardware is more costly as well.
So which mobile phones have this technology today?
Another great question! The Google Nexus 4, Nokia Lumia 820, Nokia Lumia 920, HTC Windows Phone 8X and the LG Optimus LTE2 all have this built in and are available to buy in the UK market as we speak.
The brand new Samsung Galaxy S4 can also make use of this technology with a 'sold separately' special back cover. PS. If you haven't checked out Smart Scroll, S Health and S Translate then you should as these are great new features on the Samsung Galaxy S4.
Finally the Apple iPhone 4S, BlackBerry Bold, BlackBerry Curve, Samsung Galaxy Note II and the Samsung Galaxy S III all have wireless charging sleeves available and this really does open up the opportunity to get on board with wireless charging.