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December 09, 2014

Freescale Platform Brings Simple Wireless Charging to Larger Devices

One of the great things about writing like this is that, for the most part, I'm part of the mobile workforce. I have a laptop, because trying to type on a tablet when your fingers run three to four inches long can be a challenge at best. However, laptops can be bulky and unpleasant to move around from place to place, and that's before the issue of plugging in said laptop comes into play. However, Freescale may have just the solution to problems such as mine with its new 15-watt wireless charging platform, a development that may make charging up tablets—and even laptops—a much simpler matter.

Freescale intends to offer the wireless charging system starting in the first quarter of 2015, and with it, bring a solution with three times the power of the current standard in charging station, which puts about five watts into play. Such devices are typically useful for smartphones and wearable devices, and though such could be used to charge laptops and tablets, it would take much longer to accomplish such a feat. For reference, Freescale pointed out that a standard tablet, using a 4,000 mAh battery, would take about eight hours to charge from a normal five watt USB port. Meanwhile, with a 15-watt system, that number has the potential to drop substantially.

Freescale is hardly alone in this market; major enterprises and groups are already getting together to form standards for the industry. So far, the wireless charging concept has split into three major fields, the Qi wireless charging standard from the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP)'s Rezence system, and the Power Matters Alliance (PMA), who earlier this year announced plans to work with the A4WP in terms of consolidating standards, which will help reduce the field of possibilities. Freescale is currently a member of the WPC and the PMA, but reports suggest that Freescale is focusing much of its efforts on the WPC's Qi standard. However, Freescale is also reportedly working on other standards as well to keep options appropriately open, a good thing in the face of a growing number of options in the field like uBeam's sound-based charging system.

Wireless charging may seem like useless frippery, given the way things are going these days, but several technological developments mean that wireless charging isn't just a matter of convenience, but a matter of making sense. Sure, the idea of never having to plug a laptop or a tablet into the wall again is a thrill for some, and with good reason; but this goes well beyond just laptops and tablets, and goes to a host of other devices. Consider the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) market; all those little devices that successfully interconnect with each other require a means to recharge, without the assistance of a wired connection. This makes wireless charging a terrific alternative, especially for devices that need to be spread out and operate wirelessly. Beyond that, there are also considerations of wearable devices and similar matters that need that juice to run, but can't necessarily get to a plug to get it.

Whether it's a road warrior who needs a tablet or a laptop juiced up or the biggest in modern connectivity systems, getting electricity to it will make all the difference. Wireless charging, meanwhile, is likely to help keep these devices versatile and ready to run in any circumstances, a development that will likely be well-received by those who put such devices to work.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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