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Wireless charging via NFC is now a thing

Why have dedicated wireless charging coils inside a device when NFC can do instead?

Published onMay 6, 2020

Wireless charging via NFC could be the future of the industry.
Lily Katz / Android Authority

Wireless charging and reverse wireless charging have become an established feature on premium phones, using dedicated coils to wirelessly transmit power. Now, the NFC Forum has announced the approval of a wireless charging specification to let you charge devices via NFC chips instead.

Don’t expect super-fast charging speeds though, as the standards body says you can only expect 1W speeds via this solution (slower than reverse charging via the Galaxy S20 series). This makes it more suitable for charging IoT devices and other small consumer devices rather than topping up phones.

“The WLC [wireless charging via NFC solution – ed] enables a single antenna in an NFC-enabled device to manage both communications and charging. This solution makes it easier and more convenient to charge low-power IoT devices such as smartwatches, fitness trackers, wireless earbuds, digital pens and other consumer devices,” the NFC Forum explained.

Why would you want wireless charging via NFC?

The forum also notes that NFC-based charging means manufacturers can forego separate wireless charging tech in their devices if it has an NFC chip.

“For example, a Bluetooth headset which includes NFC technology for pairing could also use the NFC interface for wireless charging. In this case, the NFC antenna is used to exchange the pairing information and to transfer power,” the standards body elaborates in a separate post.

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This could have ramifications for design too, as switching to NFC-based charging potentially means brands can ditch dedicated wireless charging tech inside a device. And space is at a premium inside wearables, audio accessories, and other tiny gadgets, so ditching the traditional wireless charging tech makes room for bigger batteries and other components.

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