Need to charge your phone’s battery? Just set it on the console. That is if you would be driving (or riding) the 2012 Toyota Avalon, which comes with built-in Qi charging capability, letting you charge compatible devices by just setting them on the mat.
Mobile phones and automobiles are a good mix, especially with smartphones now doubling as navigation devices. But having to fumble with a lighter socket charger and having to work through wires might be in the way of a peaceful commute. Here’s where wireless charging tech comes in.
Toyota has announced this week that the 2013 model of its flagship Avalon sedan will come equipped with Qi charging — something that smartphone enthusiasts are likely to wish all car manufacturers will support in the future.
Support for the Qi standard is growing, with about 130 companies now part of the Wireless Power Consortium. But Qi is not alone, with other emerging standards also vying to be the dominant standard in wireless charging. These include the Alliance for Wireless Power (Samsung, Qualcomm) and the Power Matters Alliance (Google, Starbucks). Whichever will become the dominant standard will depend on device support.
In the case of Qi, 110 devices reportedly support the standard already, with a global install base of 8.5 million, as of 3Q 2012 figures. With the release of the Nexus 4, interest in Qi as a wireless charging and peripheral platform is most likely to grow.
Of course, Qi does not only involve wireless charging, but also other wireless peripherals, such as audio and video docks. Now, your car might be he next peripheral you would want your smartphone to connect to. We hope to see more auto makers introducing built-in wireless charging mats in their cars, so that charging while on the move will be less of a hassle.