It seems that nowadays the whole world is going wireless, and we’re not just talking about the devices people use. If you are one of the many who have already had the pleasure of using wireless charging, you should know by now just how insanely practical and convenient the whole process can be.
Bear in mind thatyou don’t need a high power wireless charger to get the most out of your Qi-ready device as long as it doesn’t suffer from any serious malfunctions. This is due to the nature of inductive charging and Qi in particular. In other words, most Qi-ready devices employ the same general principles and charge up at roughly the same speed.
Having said that, know that charging speed depends a lot more on the charger than it does on the device that’s being charged. As such, new methods for boosting Qi charging speeds are made on a regular basis not just by reputable manufacturers but by third-party companies and a few private enterprises as well.
Limitations on speed
Despite the impressive progress that Qi charging has enjoyed over the last decade, charging speeds are yet to equal the speeds that you can expect from traditional wired chargers. As of now, the fastest possible speed you can expect from a decent wireless charger is around 50 Wh or slightly more if you’re operating a state-of-the-art charger.
It is for this reason that almost every single player on the wireless market is constantly seeking to make new breakthroughs in developing new inductive charging systems. What’s interesting is that there are also talks of limiting the charging speeds that wireless chargers are allowed to reach.
This is already a reality in China where the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has already decreed that no wireless charger produced in the country should exceed 50 watts. This has the goal ofreducing the strain that a high power wireless charger puts on your average smartphone or tablet.
The concern here is that any wattage that exceeds 50 Wh could potentially overheat a device’s battery and thus lead to unforeseen technical issues. Although we’re not entirely convinced that Qi-ready devices can realistically malfunction because of this reason alone, we can definitely see the reasoning behind the decision.
Increasing speed without risks
Despite the limitations that may or may not be placed on wireless chargers going forward, we can surely expect new iterations to not only reach 50 Wh but to actually exceed this seemingly arbitrary standard. For instance, some manufacturers like Xiaomi are already developing chargers that could reach speeds of up to 120 Wh by the end of the decade.
As you can imagine, this has to work without heating up your average phone, tablet, or any other Qi-ready device people might own. Some of you might not know this but wireless charging is known to heat up your phone’s battery a lot more than traditional chargers, which is an unavoidable by-product of inductive charging as a technology.
So the goal for most manufacturers is to somehow create a charger that delivers its charge in controlled bursts so as to not heat up an average phone while still increasing overall charging speed. I guess only time will tell if such a thing is even possible or if it’s realistic to even expect chargers to be able to do that.
The demand for a supportive infrastructure
Seeing how manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to increase charging speed, the batteries will be required to keep up. For the time being, most Qi-ready smartphones employ a hybrid battery that can be charged both with wired chargers or with Qi chargers depending on the user’s preferences.
Some suggest that this hybrid system is behind the overheating that some phones experience when using a Qi charger. As wireless chargers become more widespread over time, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to assume that they will one day replace traditional chargers altogether. This will surely force some manufacturers’ hands and have them remove the wired port for good.
This is understandable for a myriad of reasons ranging from practical applications to ease of use and accessibility. For instance, if youraverage high power wireless charger can deliver 70-80 Wh for any Qi-ready device you might own, then why would you even bother owning a wired charger in the first place?
Then again, without an actual breakthrough or proof of concept, all we can do is speculate at the moment. If rumors are to be believed, both Xiaomi and Samsung are already developing chargers that reach speeds of up to 70 Wh and we would expect smaller manufacturers to follow through.
Public safety above technological progress
After considering all the risks and concerns posed by wireless charging technologies in their current form, we can safely state that you are a lot more likely to suffer harm from a wired charger or an average wall plug. Even so, governing bodies from all over the world are concerned with how the public might perceive a strong enough wireless charging mechanism.
Remember how people reacted not long ago to the announcement that countries would soon switch to 5G mobile networks. It’s therefore easy to see why some governing bodies or ministries would be skeptical about introducing powerful wireless technologies to the market, even technologies that don’t really showcase any short or long-term risks.
Be that as it may, we can see how people would make the connection that overheating batteries via inductive charging could pose health risks to humans. So in a way, perhaps limiting charging speed makes sense in the absence of a charging technology that can deliver its charge without heating up the phone’s battery.
We just hope that by the time we can realistically replace all wired chargers with wireless versions, the stigma behind wireless waves would have dissipated to some extent.