Why hasn’t wireless charging become mainstream yet?

Advantages of Wireless Charging and Why It Hasn’t Taken Off Yet

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Mainstream adoption of wireless charging may be upon us, thanks to Apple finally messing around with the technology with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. I personally haven’t tried wireless charging yet despite being around the presence of Samsung Galaxy S5 and above phones. No requests for wireless charging mats.

Anyway, wireless charging is achieved through electromagnetic induction meaning power is sent between charging mat and device using electromagnetic fields. With everything going wireless, the power cord is the last thing to go, but the need for us to get tangled and trip over these cables remains. I’m just totally appreciating wireless speakers and headsets in my work, and it would be great if power was transmitted to my phone wirelessly as well.

Check out all those wireless chargers already available here.

Aside from not having to deal with tripping over and entanglement, other advantages of wireless charging include:

Durability – one of my jobs is being a custodian who issues phones to my colleagues, which makes me lucky to hold the latest Samsung or iPhone models when contract retention and phone releases are in sync. The problem with some phones, however, is that the constant plugging and unplugging of chargers causes the phone’s charging port to loosen. Points off to Samsung as their phones are often a victim of this.

apple air power wireless chargers

Convenience and Aesthetic – if ever any manufacturer decides to remove the power port, the phone will look better. That could take a while though as USB Type-C charging ports and OTG USB sticks are just taking off. Should the power jack be removed, wireless charging will also allow for further waterproofing of phones.

Less risk of shock – constant plugging and unplugging will also no longer be necessary thus reducing the danger of shock for the user. The charging mats need to be constantly plugged though.

It would be nice if you can just set your phone on the charging mat of your bedside table or somewhere on your office desk. When someone calls, you don’t need to unplug or undock it (in case you don’t have Bluetooth). You simply pick it up. So why isn’t everyone wirelessly charging yet? Wireless charging mats aren’t that expensive.

Cost – charging mats may be cheap but integrating wireless charging to devices probably is which is why wireless charging is often present only in high-end phones. Should the feature be built-in to mid-range models, we might see more people adopting wireless charging technology. Receivers are available for lower-end phones though, but the receiver takes up the connecting port.

Standards – like HD-DVD and Blu-ray, one standard needs to win out before mainstream adoption so as to avoid confusion for consumers. Right now, there are two dominating standards when it comes to wireless charging. Qi and Rezence. Thankfully, most mobile manufacturers including Apple and Samsung have adopted Qi because of its stability and cost-effectiveness. Rezence, however, can allow more than one device to be charged with greater distance. Both standards are quite compelling. The current dominant standard Qi, present in most charging pads also hinders mainstream adoption due to distance limitation. Pones need to be on the pad, and the pad may not be conveniently located all the time.

Consumer Contentment – if it ain’t broke… Many consumers are quite content using wired chargers or USB cables connected to their desktops or laptops instead of wireless charging mats. Long USB cables connected to fast chargers are often enough for most consumers. Besides, being connected to the computer allows charging, sync and access to phone files at the same time. Portable battery packs also stand in the way of wireless charging. They can charge phones anywhere, and they don’t have to be plugged into an outlet. Also, the phone can be used while connected and will continue to charge. For wireless charging, the charging stops when the user picks up the phone to answer a call or check a notification.

powermat wireless chargers

Space – space is the final frontier for small office tables, desks or cubicles. A charging mat would need its own separate area on the desk and will also need its own power outlet. Will you allow the charging pad to the over the mouse space or that space reserved for your world’s greatest mom/dad coffee mug?

Health concerns – things often get overblown if reported irresponsibly or there is simply not enough info. Since wireless charging involves electromagnetic radiation, there’s concern about how much is being emitted and how harmful can it be to the human body especially with cancer cases on the rise. According to the makers of Qi, the radiation is negligible and only in the pad’s immediate area. Not everyone knows that though.

Apart from cord-cutting, wireless charging is unfortunately not compelling enough for greater mainstream adoption unless true, safe, long-distance wireless charging becomes a reality. But you never know if you don’t try. Mats /pads and adapters are cheap enough to do so. It may depend on one’s taste.