By Kathryn Van Druff
Technology keeps gifting us with exciting new products and processes every time we turn around. Smartphones continue to evolve and improve at a ridiculous speed, and charging is no different. Wireless charging—also known as inductive charging—allows you to set your smartphone down for a charge conveniently without having to plug it in and then unplug it every time. Here’s the scoop on this wire-free charging solution.
How Wireless Charging Works
Wireless charging mats and wireless docking stations offer an easy place to rest your phone while it charges, but it’s important to note one distinction. Wireless charging is only truly ‘wireless’ between your device and the charging station. The charger itself still needs to plug into an electrical outlet in order to receive and distribute power.
An electromagnetic field transfers energy between the charging station and your device. For inductive charging to work properly, two induction coils work together to turn power into an electrical current, charging the battery. With no cable to attach to your phone, charging your phone at night in the dark is a snap.
Rue the day that you can’t find your cell phone charger and that last bar of battery fizzles away, sending your device off to sleep. We’ve all misplaced or forgotten to bring along a charger at some point, often prompting us to borrow someone else’s charger (or their phone, even) or simply to remember what it was like living in the dark ages without a cell phone.
Wireless cell phone chargers work well in a capacity where they are always in the same place in your home for your charging convenience. You’ll always know where your charger is, and in many cases, you can charge different types of devices even if they require different types of chargers. The tricky questions: whether wireless chargers actually afford you any real freedom you didn’t have already.
Reason being, you are still effectively tethered even if your device isn’t the one plugged into a cable. In most cases, you must line up your device on the station just so. If you pick it up to read something or check your email, the charging connection is broken. It’s that simple. Some phone models may also require you to remove the case or purchase a separate case back accessory in order to use the wireless charging capability.
Types of Wireless Chargers
The two types of wireless charging technology are Qi and Power Matters Alliance (PMA). You can find a variety of wireless charging accessories from charging mats to charging stands, wireless compatible car chargers, and more. The type of device you own may dictate which technology you need to enlist, and lately, more and more devices are being developed to give you the choice. Should you find yourself wondering which wireless charging technology would be best for your device, check out this comparison of Qi and PMA wireless chargers.
A Look to the Future
Can you imagine a day when you no longer need a charger at all to keep your smartphone fully fueled and ready for use? That day may be sooner than you think. Apple is rumored to be gearing up for a 2017 iPhone release that may include farther reaching charging power with more of an over-the-air style wireless technology. This could be a real game-changer for the low battery life that plagues most mobile devices.
In the meantime, give wireless chargers a shot or try an alternative offering some kind of expediency like an extra-long charging cable or a portable USB power bank that fits in your pocket or purse for charging on the go. What some may consider convenient, others may consider unnecessary. Pick your poison.