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NFC might get even more useful with wireless charging, and more tech news today
Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Wednesday, May 6.
1. NFC adds wireless charging in a new specification
Here’s something coming a little further down the road than normal coverage, but could be big: the NFC Forum, which has Apple, Sony and Google as sponsors, and Samsung as a principal member, has announced the approval of a wireless charging specification to let you charge devices via NFC chips.
- The NFC Forum, “approved and adopted the Wireless Charging Specification (WLC) that makes it possible to wirelessly charge small, battery-powered consumer and IoT devices with a smartphone or other NFC charging device at a power transfer rate of up to one watt,” it said in a press release this morning.
- “This will improve the user experience for the two billion consumers and businesses using smartphones and other NFC-enabled devices.”
- “The WLC 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 smart watches, fitness trackers, wireless earbuds, digital pens and other consumer devices.”
What it means:
- Yes, wireless charging already exists, including reverse wireless charging from the likes of Samsung and Huawei smartphones. But those are additional dedicated coils.
- And we haven’t seen the tech yet from Apple.
- But most smartphones and other tech devices already come with NFC. Integrating wireless charging with NFC would mean easier and more standardized wireless charging based on an already prolific standard technology.
- As for 1W power transfer, that appears low, but easily enough for small devices including earbuds and IoT things.
- This is where imagination comes in as well: no more wired charging is how the NFC Forum sees it, which created new forms of devices:
- “NFC wireless charging is truly transformative because it changes the way we design and interact with small, battery-powered devices as the elimination of plugs and cords enables the creation of smaller, hermetically-sealed devices,” said NFC Forum chair Koichi Tagawa.
- That implies all sorts of possibilities and space-savings without power-transfer via wires.
- NFC-compatible devices already include chargers, PC, tablets, and wearables: Wikipedia maintains an exhaustive list of “NFC-enabled mobile devices” which includes what may be surprises, like Nintendo Switch controllers.
- And it may integrate both communication and charging together: “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,” notes the standards body.
- Given the rate of application from specification to implementation, we’re early. Probably a year or two early, before this is adopted widely, if all goes to plan.
2. Google Pixel Buds (2020) review: Android’s AirPods (Android Authority).
3. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip sales point to first runaway success in foldable market (Android Authority).
4. New patent: This could be what Xiaomi’s first phone with an in-display camera looks like (Android Authority).
6. Apple announced its virtual WWDC will start on June 22, for free. That’s a little later than usual, but no mind: attendees usually have to try and win a lottery ticket (or know someone) and then pay for the ticket itself. This will mean no cap on devs, and no fees, or flights, hotels, etc!
7. With cafes and libraries closed, Americans without internet access are sitting in parking lots to get free and fast Wi-FI connections (NY Times).
9. Steven Sinofsky is authoring a book about his time at Microsoft, probably a must-read (OnMSFT.com).
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