The advancement of wireless power – a quantum leap in the development that will finally free electronic devices from the hassle of battery – according to experts it is being disrupted by divisions within the industry.
In 2012, Nokia had declared that its Lumia 920 smartphone will be the first phone that can be charged without any plugs.
Even though it still needs to be placed near a charging source – on a charging plate – but it is considered as a major breakthrough towards a wireless future. Meanwhile, Intel showed that an Ultrabook laptop could beam electricity in a smartphone placed a short distance away.
Apple applied for a patent application in November for how an iMac could wirelessly power its keyboard and mouse, without any battery charging and last month Qualcomm showed an electric-powered Rolls-Royce in its booth being wirelessly recharged by a system called Halo.
According to theFinancial Times. the main obstacle behind a true development of this technology is that the companies researching this technology are secretive and barely share the knowledge with on another.
One is the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), whose Qi technology is used in the Lumia 920. Qi is now in 34 phones, 120 products in all, and more than 138 companies are members of the WPC, according to Dave Baarman, director of advanced technologies at Fulton Innovation, a WPC member, told the FT.
According to FT : “There are over ten million phones in the market now, so that’s starting to get us to a point where we’re getting a good uptake from the consumer.”
These cases were the expertise of the company Powermat before it allied with the battery maker Duracell. The brands are now involved with 30 other companies in a wider-ranging consortium – the Power Matters Alliance.
Also involved in are CE4A, led by carmakers, and the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), featuring Qualcomm and Samsung, the leading mobile chip and handset players. Apple has not gone to a partnership with any companies .
An analyst with IMS Research, Jason dePreaux said that there’s fragmentation when it comes to standards, there are a lot of different alliances and stakeholders.
He also stated the growing number of organisations beyond the WPC made this a lot complex than the Blu-ray versus HD-DVD and VHS versus Betamax standards wars of the past.His projections are for wireless-power enabled devices to grow from 5 million units in 2012 to almost 100 million by 2015.
But these numbers could be a bit of an under or over exaggaeration, he admits, if a big player such as Apple enters the market or there is no agreement on standards.
He said that the more there were talks to unaligned companies, it was pretty clear that they wanted to see what had happened with the standards before making any big investments.
“But once it takes off, adoption could be very rapid.”