Wireless charging promises to radically change the market landscape, particularly if long-range, wire-free technologies meet key milestones. Imagine a world in which people will never again have to make a conscious effort to charge their devices; they will charge as consumers go about their daily lives, without being plugged in or resting on a charging pad. This is the industry’s vision for long-range, wire-free charging, but hurdles stand in the way. And even if obstacles, like regulatory approval, are overcome, ABI Research predicts that it will likely be years before these technologies become a mainstream solution.
“Select retailers, auto manufacturers, enterprises, and mobile leaders like Samsung and Apple are moving wireless charging forward by integrating inductive charging into smartphones and wearables,” says Michael Inouye, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. “But most wire-free charging technologies still need to meet regulatory approval, which could significantly delay product launches or even derail any momentum garnered thus far.”
The standards battle for short-range, inductive charging, and the early steps to resonant charging between the Wireless Power Consortium (Qi branded) and AirFuel is largely mitigated by multi-mode receivers, which are already leading shipments from market leaders like IDT. To supplement wireless charging in the meantime, numerous companies are advancing today’s battery technology through enhancements to existing Li-ion technology. Some, like portable fuel cell leader MyFC, even offer end users added flexibility and portability when charging their devices through methods like off-grid charging. But as wireless charging steps to the forefront of this market, the competitive landscape will focus less on competing technologies and more on the growing number of applications and use cases.
“Inductive and resonant charging remain the best wireless charging options for now, with shipments clearing one billion by 2019,” concludes Inouye. “Wire-free charging still has many questions to answer in the market. Energous looks like it will be the first company to start commercializing its claims, as it already secured the early critical licensees necessary to bring the products to market. It will debut short-range charging products that targets wearables to help seed the market before it expands to longer range solutions.”
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