On Sunday 1st March, Samsung announced the release of its new flagship smartphones – the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 edge – ahead of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Both phones feature built-in capabilities for wireless charging certified to both PMA and Qi standards. Samsung expect shipments of the new handsets to start within the next 6 weeks.
Samsung is currently the market leader in shipments of mobile phones, with a 23% market share in Q4 2014 for all mobile phones,at the end of 2014 and 308 million smart phones shipped during 2014. Whilst the adoption of wireless inductive charging into mobile phones is not itself a new concept (for example the Nokia Lumia 930 has a Qi-standard receiver built in), this announcement from Samsung provides a huge boost to the wireless power industry with its potential to drive market awareness and shipment volumes.
The decision to provide a ‘dual-mode’ receiver capable of receiving power from either a PMA or Qi transmitter is also an interesting step. Infrastructure investment is on the increase, as shown by recent tie-ups such as Starbucks with PMA in the USA, and the IKEA announcement of Qi-equipped furniture at MWC. However, manufacturers are clearly focused on providing a seamless charging experience for their end-user, where interoperability is extremely important. IHS therefore expects that dual-mode (PMA/Qi inductive) receiver solutions are likely to be an increasing trend for new product announcements over the rest of 2015 – whilst tri-modal solutions that also include resonant technology (such as the A4WP Rezence standard) become more likely in the medium-to-long term.
Analysis from the upcoming 2015 IHS Wireless Power Report suggest that this announcement will clearly drive a huge increase in receiver shipments for 2015, with total shipments forecast to break through 100 million unit barrier by the end of the year just from mobile handsets.
With further inductive and resonant product releases also expected later this year across numerous applications – such as the new Intel chip architecture of Skylake including Rezence-standard loosely-coupled charging – this Samsung announcement is the first large step in 2015 for wireless charging in what looks to be a breakthrough year for the technology.
More analysis from IHS: Wireless Power Intelligence Service