Wireless charging has been around on a few mobile devices for the last decade or so but has never really made it to the mainstream. In the last couple of years this has started to change with Google’s Nexus devices and some of Nokia’s Lumia devices being wireless compatible.
So how does it work? Wireless charging uses what called inductive charging to allow charging without having to plug in cables. It has some big advantages in not needing to work with fiddly plugs and being easy to use but is also slower than wired charging and can generate waste heat. In addition cheaper models of charging pad need the device to be lined up perfectly to charge which can often be more difficult than plugging in a USB cable.
There are currently three major standards in mobile technology charging – Qi, the PMA and the WPC and they are all unfortunately incompatible with each other. In terms of market share Qi appears to be winning but if you want to make use of this technology you need to be very careful as things are not always clear. For example Google’s Nexus 5 uses the Qi standard but the popular Samsung S4 uses a propriety integrated charging system but can use the Qi system with the addition of the correct aftermarket parts.
The number of phones that have wireless charging seems to gradually be going up and the price of charging mats is going slowly down so and the technology is becoming more efficient. If you are interested in making use of this technology check your phones specification carefully before ordering a charging matt and do not expect too much. In a few years when it becomes more standardised and faster it will be part of the mainstream, but for now only a few will find it useful.