Market Insight

Semtech tri-modal transmitter set to be embedded in computers

October 19, 2015

David Green David Green Research & Analysis Manager – Smart Utilities Infrastructure

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In the last two weeks, Semtech Corporation has made two major press releases around their wireless charging technology, following the acquisition of Triune Systems earlier in the year.  First, the company announced the launch of its tri-modal wireless charging transmitter technology, supporting the Qi (WPC), PMA and Rezence (A4WP) standards.   On Friday last week, a second press release announced that the technology would be integrated in an upcoming line of business computers – although the OEM was not named.

Our analysis

The market continues to move in the direction of multi-mode devices – by 2019, IHS estimates that 30% of annual wireless charging receivers could offer both tightly and loosely coupled charging technology.

The market is yet to see the first commercially available Rezence receiver solution, which could yet slow down adoption, but the transmitter market seems to be moving.  Gill Electronics announced the first FCC approval for such a transmitter back in June this year, and Semtech has now followed by releasing their tri-modal transmitter chipset.  Competitors are also working on similar solutions, such as the Broadcom receiver solution that allows free choice between each of the standards.

However, the offer of tri-modal semiconductor solutions is very different to the commercial launch of a fully tri-modal transmitter, since this also requires a significant effort and cost increase on the design of the mechanical components – i.e. the coil and ferrite.  With the rise of dual-mode or tri-modal receiver devices, it could mean that the need for such transmitters is lessened as infrastructure providers look to minimise their costs.

Meanwhile, the computing space is beginning to see interest in wireless charging ramp up ahead of increased adoption in 2016.

  • HP announced in September that its EliteOne 705 G2 and 800 G2, an all-in-one PC range would be available with an optional tri-modal transmitter that would be built into the stand – although pricing has not yet been released.
  • The recently-launched Acer Revo Build modular desktop PC also includes the possibility for wireless charging, with a top module that includes a built-in transmitter.  Again, pricing for this add-on module has not yet been released, nor the standard it will support.
  • Intel Skylake-enabled Rezence charging is likely to hit the laptop market from early 2016.
  • The Samsung monitor first announced in July is now available to pre-order for $250, with an in-built Qi-transmitter in the base.

The notebook/netbook PC market is predicted to be the fastest growing category for wireless charging receivers over the next decade.  The inclusion of transmitters into both the PCs and peripherals, such as monitors, will also help to increase the attach rate of transmitters to receivers and increase actual usage of wireless charging overall.  IHS estimate almost 70 million wireless charging transmitters will ship in 2015, compared to over 160 million receivers.

More analysis from IHS: Wireless Power Intelligence Service.

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