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Wireless charging: inductive or conductive?

Posted: , by Ken N.

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Wireless charging: inductive or conductive?
There's a reason the term 'wireless' has so many positive connotations. Wires are messy, unsightly, and downright annoying. So why hasn't wireless charging really caught on? One problem is that devices require aftermarket backs in order to function with these chargers. Another problem is that manufacturers haven't decided on a charging standard.

There are two primary types of wireless charging: inductive and conductive. Inductive chargers use an electromagnetic field to transfer wireless energy across a gap, and into the device's battery. The aftermarket backs for inductive charging include an induction coil, which is capable of receiving the wireless energy. Conductive charging, on the other hand, works with direct electrical contact between the power-source and the battery.

The WildCharge Pad from PureEnergy Solutions, released three years ago, is a conductive charging solution. It is covered with conductive panels that connect with similarly conductive materials on your devices' aftermarket backs. Duracell, Powermat USA, and RadioShack have since followed suit with their own conductive wireless charging pads. The downside to conductive charging is that you can't build the panels into other materials, like desks or airline tray-tables.

Inductive chargers, on the other hand, have gained greater support from device manufacturers. OEMs like Samsung, LG, RIM, and Motorola are part of the Wireless Power Consortium, which backs the inductive Qi (chee) standard. Because they use induction, they wouldn't be dependent on a conductive surface, allowing them to integrated under any number of other materials. One such example is Energizer's Inductive Charger. The Wireless Power Consortium hopes to make Qi compatibility a standard feature of future devices.

We should give credit to Palm, which introduced the Touchstone inductive charging dock for their Pre devices, and the upcoming HP TouchPad tablet. The greatest advantage of Palm's solution is that the inductive back doesn't change the appearance of your device. We think that increased adoption of wireless charging will depend on similarly seamless designs, in place of clunky aftermarket backs.

source: The Wall Street Journal
Wireless charging: inductive or conductive?
Wireless charging: inductive or conductive?

7 Comments
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posted on 16 Feb 2011, 01:12

1. cadetz (unregistered)


all i can think of is more accessory and need new ones every time similar to the power mat thingy

posted on 16 Feb 2011, 01:15 2

2. dude (unregistered)


The time it takes to plug in my phone, is a second or two longer than setting my phone on a mat. Why spend a $100 on a gimicky charger when a $15.99 one will do? At $15.99 i could have on in every room of the house... Now if my phone would charge from any place in the house without a mat to set the phone on or cord to plug in, that would be another story, a very Tesla like story.

posted on 16 Feb 2011, 15:54

5. homineyhominey (unregistered)


The advantage that I have seen from the touchstone or the powermat is the benefits from not plugging it in. How many people have damaged thier charging ports from trying to plug it in late at night, or while inebriated. If the charging port is damaged, the phone is beyond repair, making it very costly. Without plugging it in all the time, consumers save the pain of breaking the charging port.

posted on 16 Feb 2011, 02:42 1

3. PhoneLuver (Posts: 467; Member since: 05 Jul 2010)


I think it's important that these guys decide on a standard. The inductive Qi standard makes more sense to me as this should be compatible with multiple devices. Also, it's important that OEM's embrace this tech. I don't want to buy a different powermat for every new device I get, also I don't want to have chunky back covers on my phones that I can't re-use one a different or a new model!

Next thing they should consider is wireless synchronization, perhaps using NFC, or bluetooth something..

Another possibility is to include some streaming tech for video or audio.

posted on 16 Feb 2011, 07:18

4. Mike (unregistered)


If you are going to rewrite the WSJ article please get it right. PowerMat uses inductive charging NOT conductive. It does requires it to be in a specific location on the charging pad. Please stop writing on subjects you obviously know nothing about or at the very least read the entire article you pulled this information from.

posted on 16 Feb 2011, 20:21

6. siowpt (Posts: 1; Member since: 16 Feb 2011)


Reading so much so about the good think on the wireless charging.
HOW about it's impact to HUMAN body, especially electromagnetic field and frequency interference??????
Did any manufacturer come out with any kind of safety limit???

posted on 03 Jun 2011, 06:23

7. Steven Teo (unregistered)


Whats the point of "wireless" charging if it needs to be so close to the "mat"? And what about energy efficiency? Does it cost more energy to charge the phone compared to direct conductors? -- I would think so, and thus cost more to charge your phone in electrical standpoint.

The only advantage i can see is that if the tech is deployed to high-tech cafes where the tables are themselves charges for people on the move.

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