The development of wireless charging has been plagued so far by high-costs, immature technology, and competing standards.
Currently, industry players have grouped around two technologies, inductive magnetic charging and resonant inductive magnetic charging, but only the former has made it into actual products, in the form of the Qi wireless charging standard.
As the largest smartphone maker in the world, Samsung has a big influence over the development of wireless power transmission, and it looks that the Korean giant is betting on magnetic resonance technology.
Samsung recently acquired a stake in Power by Proxi, a supporter of the Qi standard that specializes in magnetic resonance power technologies. But Samsung is also developing magnetic resonance chargers internally, and plans to commercialize the technology by the middle of 2014.
According to a “Samsung insider” cited by the Korean IT news portal ETNews, the company actually tried to equip the Galaxy S4 with magnetic resonance charging, but cancelled the feature after it malfunctioned in tests. However, Samsung has ironed out some of the wrinkles: “the magnetic resonant reception chip performance has been improved to be suitable for system application,” said the insider.
Here’s a video demonstrating the technology developed by Power by Proxi:
Why is magnetic resonance charging important? Because it allows for charging at a distance, unlike the current Qi standard, which requires the phone and the charger to be very close and properly aligned. In other words, instead of having to place your phone on a charging mat or on a charger like in the case of the Nexus 4, with magnetic resonance chargers, you’ll be able to place your phone anywhere near the charger, without having to carefully align it. Depending on the implementation, magnetic resonance technology should enable charging at distances of several inches or more.
Check out this overview for more info on wireless charging, the difference between inductive and resonant magnetic charging, and the competing standards that support them.