At the end of July, Qualcomm announced they had become the first company to offer a wireless power solution that could charge devices with metal exteriors. The Qualcomm WiPower solution is compliant with the Alliance For Wireless Power (A4WP) “Rezence” standard – a loosely coupled, magnetic resonant technology.
Meanwhile, strong rumours have emerged as to the designs of the new Google Nexus Android smart phones expected to be launched in late 2015. LG is expected to manufacture a 5.2-inch version, whilst Huawei will manufacture a 5.7-inch phablet. Early indications suggest that both variants will offer wireless charging capabilities supporting the Rezence standard. The LG version is rumoured to have a MediaTek tri-modal receiver chip (supporting A4WP, Qi and PMA standards), whilst the Huawei version is said to have Rezence wireless charging – potentially from Qualcomm.
The long wait for the first commercially available Rezence solution looks to be coming to an end in late 2015.
Unlike the existing PMA and Qi solutions that operate in the 100-150 KHz range and were initially designed as tightly coupled, inductive solutions, the A4WP/Rezence standard uses a frequency of 6.78 MHz and is specifically designed to be a loosely coupled, magnetic resonant solution. One of the functions of this approach – and not just a Qualcomm-unique feature – would be to allow charging through thin metal covers. However, despite years of development the release of certified-systems has seen many delays – whilst adoption of Qi and PMA solutions has risen sharply throughout 2015.
IHS forecasts that loosely coupled receivers will eventually prove the more popular solution, outselling tightly coupled receivers from 2019 onwards – although 30% of the receiver market will use multi-mode solutions by that time.
Most interestingly, these latest announcements and rumours point to a race between mobile phones and notebooks/netbooks as being the first application to launch an A4WP-certified solution. Intel is long-known to have been developing a Rezence-certified wireless charging system for launch on its new Skylake chip architecture, also expected to launch later in 2015.
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