Wireless charging goes vertical

by: Nate SwannerApril 9, 2013

wireless charging

Wireless charging has long been one of those features we wish would be implemented as a standard, but nobody seems to be able to figure out. The Nexus 4 was touted as having the feature at launch, but it was months before we saw an actual charger at retail. Many thought the technology may just get lost in the shuffle, doomed to be ‘what could have been’.

Our friends at CNET are reporting a fascinating new breakthrough in wireless charging. One that not only promises to be a step forward, but also see the light of day on a wider scale. To begin with, there are three governing bodies of wireless charging; the Qi consortium, Power Matters, and the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP). To date, those three have all gone their own route, but the Alliance for Wireless Power has positioned itself as the future of wireless charging. As the developers of this new technology, they believe the other two wireless charging conglomerates will need to get on board with them moving forward… and the just might be right.

So what’s the technology?

The new wireless charging technology lets you charge your items in a vertical field, rather than placing them on a charging pad. It’s not an earth shattering development, as the charging coils are generally just larger, but it does have a lot of promise moving forward. Those larger coils create an energy field of sorts, or what the A4WP calls “spatial freedom”, which is meant to charge those devices with wireless charging capabilities that come to rest in the charging zone.

As we move into the next realm of mobile devices, with things like Smartwatches or Google Glass, this holds quite a bit of promise and needed functionality. With the advent of a vertical charging field, we can place items in an area, not a spot. This also has the promise of being built straight into things like desks, cars, nightstands, or whatever else we can imagine it would be useful in.

Of course, the further away from the charging source your device is, the slower it charges. If it were built into something like a car console, we’d be happier to take the scenic route while our Google Glass charged up, with our smartphone right under it. It will also be nice to not have to balance a device in a specific spot, on a charging pad. Toss a device in a charging area, and go on with your life. Sounds perfect to me.


  • Quryous


    A4WP is the one that Samsung will be adopting in 2014. Currently they are very slightly pushing Qi, but in such a half hearted way that Qi is damned with faint praise.

    A4WP is what you can REALLY expect Samsung to go after, but only starting in 2014.

    A shame they are fiddle farting around for so long. This is NOT a really new technology, none of them are, but it was not as fully commercially developed as Qi, so it is slower coming out the gate.

  • Qliphah

    It would be nice to take the scenic route like you say but there are already laws being looked at to make wearing AR glasses as illegal as texting is now. But this short sightedness (heh) on the politicians part would be a true loss. Driving with a HUD would be awesome.

    • wonshikee

      A HUD makes sense for a professional who makes a living behind a driver’s seat or cockpit, but I would never want the average person, whom I have very little faith in, to have more distractions than necessary when they’re behind a 2 ton weapon.

  • wonshikee

    I wonder what kind of radiation exposures we might be affected by having a field like that. I’m not one for tinfoil hats but I can’t imagine it won’t have any affect on our body given the high powered nature of the field.

  • well, QI was fun while it lasted lol

    • Microsoftjunkie

      Not quite…

    • CoCoFaux

      Qi will be around forever. The technology that Samsung is trying to pursue is too costly and complex to be made into a consumer product at the same pricepoint. You’re going to see Qi become cheaper and cheaper as more and more devices and companies adopt it. Samsung and A4WP is so far behind this adoption curve there is not a chance they’ll catch up.

      • I agree that QI is further along in adoption and will continue to become cheaper but if it doesn’t evolve into something that can be integrated into a table surface and you can use with a thick case (not be directly on the surface) I believe that the A4WP will soon become the more widely adopted wireless charging solution.