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Inductive Charging On Cell Phones and Cars, But Apple Wants True Wireless Charging

Inductive Charging Toyota Dashes

Toothbrushes have had a more advanced feature than most top of the line cell phones.

Inductive charging has been a standard on many high end toothbrushes since the 90’s. Just set the brush on the stand and it charges wirelessly from the magnetic base.  The first major cell phone to accomplish the task was the Palm Pre in 2009 and we are just in the past year getting the technology on more phones.

Recently released phones from Nokia, Google and HTC are finally embracing the technology. Yes, you could have used the Energizer version or the PowerPad, but they required a bulky sleeve to be worn around the phone.

A new patent filed by Apple suggests that they are working on a wireless charging method that works truly over wireless. The abstract of the patent is below and explains the ability to charge via NFMR around a distance of 1 meter. Apple called the idea a “realistic and practical approach to wireless transferring.”

“Various embodiments of a wirelessly powered local computing environment are described. The wireless powered local computing environment includes at least a near field magnetic resonance (NFMR) power supply arranged to wirelessly provide power to any of a number of suitably configured devices. In the described embodiment’s  the devices arranged to receive power wirelessly from the NFMR power supply must be located in a region known as the near field that extends no further than a distance D of a few times a characteristic size of the NFMR power supply transmission device. Typically, the distance D can be on the order of 1 meter or so.”

The most recent iPhone 5 omitted a wireless charging method. Apple could be waiting for this new wireless technology to be more feasible. Details are scarce, but it could be implemented into future Apple mobile products.

Qi charging is the current leading standard and it is featured in the Nokia’s Lumia 820 and 920, Google Nexus 4, Motorola DNA and HTC’s Windows Phone 8X. Older HTC, Samsung and Motorola phones featured the technology, but did not advertise them as so. Most of these, like the Palm, required the consumer to purchase a different compatible back to work with available chargers.

Toyota recently announced that the 2013 Avalon will be the first U.S. vehicle to include the Qi standard. It will allow any of the phones with built in Qi compatibility to charge by placing it on the console pad. Popular phones that are not Qi compatible have 3rd party sleeves that can be installed to achieve compatibility.

The main competition to the Qi standard is in the form of the Alliance for Wireless Power, or A4WP for short. This group consists of large companies that include Qualcomm, Samsung, SanDisk, PowerMat, Deutsche Telekom and Broadcom.

How long will it be until we can charge our phones while they are in our pockets or just near the source? No one really knows, but i’m sure most are anxious for the technology.

Apple wireless charging Patent

Apple filed for a patent for an inductive charging dock. Apple, to date, has not deployed a wireless charging system for its devices, but there is some speculation that it could introduce an inductive charging dock potentially for the next generation iPhone.

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