Wireless charging gaining traction as consumers cut cords

Consumers are growing weary of the masses of cables, tangled cords and hefty adapters that usually accompany high-tech devices and are starting to replace chargers and power cables with wireless chargers.

The emerging trend towards wire-free charging will see revenue from wireless charging devices grow by 616 percent in 2011 says a new report from electronic component researcher and trend forecaster IHS iSuppli.

"Wireless charging offers consumers a viable alternative to recharge consumer electronic devices without the need for dedicated power adapters," says Tina Teng, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS. "With the appeal of such solutions, companies are lining up to offer wireless charging despite various technological and standardization issues slowing mass-market adoption."

IHS predicts the wireless charging market will expand to reach $885.8 million in 2011, up from $123.9 million in 2010.

The market will continue to grow exponentially in 2012 says IHS, when revenue is expected to increase by 276 percent. By 2015 market growth will ease to 48 percent as revenue from wireless charging devices hits $23.7 billion.

Wireless charging solutions for mobile phones will become the most popular application for cord free power, but wireless chargers will also be found alongside portable media players, digital still cameras and mobile PCs.

"Among the products, mobile phones will contribute the largest share of revenue to wireless charging — not only because of the large volume of mobile devices expected to benefit from the technology, but also because of participation by name brands in manufacturing, providing much-needed market recognition in the process," adds Mrs Teng.

Companies such as Powermat, PureEnergy, Energizer and IDAPT offer universal wireless chargers for all types of devices, but they are currently less efficient than the jumble of cables and cords most people rely on to keep their gadgets fully powered.

A recent study by researchers at Duke University, NC, USA published on Innovationnewsdaily.com shows how "metamaterials" might make the wireless transfer of power much more efficient in the next two to three years.

Increased consumer interest in cable cutting means that wireless charging will not just be relegated to in-home applications.

In April the Wireless Power Consortium along with leading Chinese car manufacturers Geely, Chery, Changan and Dongfeng showed off embedded Qi wireless chargers that remotely charge digital devices in concept vehicles at the Shanghai Auto Show.

Swedish auto maker Volvo is also testing wireless charging in its Volvo C30 Electric vehicle. The technology could one day enable drivers to charge their car without plugging it into a battery charger.  

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