The Future of Wired vs Wireless Charging

October 26, 2017

The Future of Wired vs Wireless Charging

In the recent announcement of Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone X, one of the biggest pieces of news was the integration of wireless charging using the Qi standards.

These phones join the elite group of devices that have already adopted wireless capabilities, including Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S7/S7 Edge, Galaxy S6/S6 Edge, Nexus 5 and the MS Lumia 920.

You may have seen wireless charging pads built into tables at Starbucks cafes around the world. It's certainly cut down on the number of cords left behind at outlets accidentally.

Here are a few more benefits of each method:

Benefits of Wired

The top benefit is speed. There have been some ultra-fast charging cords recently introduced, like the Lightning-to-USBC models.

All phones come with wired charging capabilities by default, so as long as you know which countries you'll be travelling to, you will know which kind of plug you need to bring along.

When you are waiting for your plane to board, nothing is simpler than plugging in and charging right up until the last minute. Ideal for quick stops at cafes everywhere, wired chargers are fast, compact and a better option for travellers.

Benefits of Wireless

For convenience, there's nothing easier that just dropping your phone on a charging pad at the end of the day. It's ideal for setting up wireless charging by your bed, where charging time is not an issue.

With wireless, there's no chance of breaking the USB connection or fraying the cord through repeated use.

Wireless charging mats are coming soon so multiple devices can charge simultaneously on one cord.

Coming Soon to Wireless

Qi chargers carry the coolness factor for the most versatile wireless chargers on market today, but the best is yet to come.

In the next few years, expect to see practical applications like:

Disney researchers have introduced a prototype of a 16-by-16-foot room that instantly charges all devices inside it with "Quasistatic Cavity Resonance" (QSCR). Magnetic fields emanate from the walls, the ceiling and the floor.

It would be even easier to charge your phone if you didn't have a battery at all. The University of Washington demonstrated a low-power cell phone that harvested energy from solar, WiFi and digital backscatter.

In the not too distant future, the power of movement, particularly walking, could be harvested and stored using innovative technologies. Energy storage could mean something other than batteries.

Senior scientists at the Mechanical Engineering Department at UW Madison created a shoe adapted to capturing piezoelectric energy from kinetic movements. The military was the first customer that showed interest in power-generating shoes, but it would also be especially useful for travellers far off the grid in developing countries.

Then there is the California-based company Energies, which announced that it is trying to make the first wireless charger that harvests the unused energy transmitted by WiFi servers everywhere.

"We expect transmitters to be in the market late this year, early next year," said Steve Rizzone, CEO of Energous. "What we're talking about is sending power two to three feet from the transmitter... completely wire-free."

Summing Up

With some Android and all Apple phones on board, the Qi standard for wireless charging is attracting plenty of development funding. Look for a flurry of enhancements in wireless soon. In the meantime, wireless wins for convenience when you have time to relax. Wired remains the top choice for fast, easy charging anywhere you need to go.