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Wireless charging products coming this year, maybe (Update: Schedule changed)
- A company called WiCharge is working with Belkin to release across-the-room wireless charging products.
- WiCharge claimed two products would launch in 2022.
- Belkin is disputing the timeframe, casting doubt on a future release schedule.
- The technology uses IR beams to “beam” power straight to a device from a power node in some other location within a room.
Updated, April 28, 2022 (05:10 PM ET): Belkin has disputed claims its partnership with WiCharge will deliver across-the-room wireless charging devices in 2022.
Israeli-based company WiCharge may be in hot water with Belkin, its new partner, after promising across-the-room charging products this year. The company’s co-founder even went so far as to tell TechCrunch that Belkin was “super aggressive on the timeline.” Evidently, Belkin doesn’t quite agree with those claims, telling Ars Technica that, while it believes in the future of the tech, it has only committed “to R&D on some product concepts, so it’s too early to comment on the timing of viable consumer products.”
Original article, April 27, 2022 (11:55 AM ET): Wireless charging is great. However, is it really “wireless”? You still need to have the charging pad or dock plugged in and whatever you’re charging needs to be right there. Really, all it does is prevent you from needing to physically connect a device to a cable, but you are still tethered.
A company called WiCharge is determined to change this. Today, the company announced (via TechCrunch) that it is bringing at least two across-the-room wireless charging products to consumers in 2022. The company is partnering with popular accessories manufacturer Belkin for this endeavor.
See also: The best wireless chargers you can get
Now, don’t get your hopes up that this would allow you to walk around the house with your phone in your pocket while it charges. That is definitely not what’s happening. Instead, this will allow a low-power device to be fully untethered from a charger. But, since the technology uses infrared (IR) beams to deliver the power directly to the device, it will need to be in one spot and directly “visible” to the charger.
Obviously, this is not the huge leap in across-the-room wireless charging we could hope for. However, it is a big step towards the futuristic idea of your devices charging no matter where they are in the home.
Across-the-room wireless charging in 2022: What to expect
WiCharge and Belkin wouldn’t say what is on the way involving this new technology. All the companies would say is that there will be two consumer-level products launched in 2022 that will charge without a cable needing to be nearby. So what could that be?
One of the examples WiCharge gave of how this technology could work is a battery-powered toothbrush. You likely use your toothbrush for about five minutes each day, and the rest of the time it just sits on the charger. WiCharge’s tech could be a great help here, delivering very low amounts of power (we’re talking less than 1W) to the toothbrush using IR. This would enable your toothbrush to not need a dock or even be near an outlet, clearing the cable clutter in your bathroom.
That’s just one example, but you can see how this technology could apply to other in-home products. Remote controls, smart blinds, smart doorbells, and other smart home devices could get low amounts of power all day in preparation for the short bursts of time you actually use them.
We’ll probably find out quite soon what products could be on the way. Either way, charging a device with a cable — or even a wireless charging pad — will soon be a thing of the past. 2022 will be the first year consumers will get across-the-room wireless charging.