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    Wireless Charging in the 5G Era

    • 4 min read

    Wireless Charging in the 5G Era

    As 5G connectivity is becoming available for more and more devices nowadays, questions could be asked about what other areas could use upgrading so as to make better use of available technologies. Seeing how wireless charging has only been around for about a decade or so, it makes perfect sense for it to keep up with emergent connectivity standards.

    Before we get into all that, however, let’s explore the reason why 5G is suddenly such a big deal and why so many people seem to lose their marbles over it. First of all, know that for most applications, a 4G connection is more than enough with respect to download/upload speeds. Understandably so, 5G offers almost double the speed and reliability.

    The difference is mostly observed when transferring large files and when streaming high-definition images or video footage. This is perfect considering how widespread AR and VR is becoming, and let’s not forget Facebook’s newly announced Metaverse. Surely this will all make good use of 5G’s high-speed capabilities over the next few years, or perhaps even sooner than that.

    With the advent of new connectivity options comes a need forbetter wireless charging options regarding 5G battery usage. We say this because it is plainly obvious that a stronger connection would end up using up more of a phone’s battery. This can be expected not only for large file transfer but also for regular internet-related activity.

    It will also relate to how people use VR and AR with respect to the Meta announcement and other similar virtual reality options that other tech giants might be inclined to come up with. The question then becomes how big can batteries get or at least how often can you recharge your phone on a daily basis and still be able to make good use of it throughout the day.

    A gradual process

    Although the whole worldwide 5G idea seems great at first sight, know that there aren’t many mobile devices out there that can handle it and maintain their operational standards. While desktop computers and laptops might have a better chance of taking advantage of the 5G environment, the need for mobile devices to follow suit is paramount.

    As of now, there are only a handful of handheld devices with the capacity to handle 5G connections without wasting power needlessly. Not just that but some (even popular) smartphones can’t even handle 5G connections straight-up. This is definitely something that manufacturers need to take into consideration as 5G networks are becoming increasingly available.

    For the time being, it appears that the OnePlus 8 Pro and Samsung flagship devices will be able to handle the power requirements of 5G networks. Although this is sure to change over the next few years, the fact that 5G networks are so few and far in between is giving manufacturers pause in regard to whether the shift would actually be worth the investment.

    It does seem thatwireless charging in the 5G era has less to do with competition and more with engineering challenges. For instance, larger batteries are synonymous with slower charging times, especially when it comes to Qi charging or any other inductive charging standards. Until that changes, it is unlikely that industry giants will be interested in making the necessary changes.

    One has to consider the implication of equipping next-generation phones with larger batteries without affecting the charging timeand the overall price of the device. Seemingly impossible as things stand, the question that 5G networks are asking manufacturers may yet remain unanswered until new technologies come available.

    Qi as a prerequisite

    If we are to take a look at the handful of 5G-capable smartphones out there, we see that they are all members of the Wireless Power Consortium. This means that they are more or less working towards addressing the need for wireless-charging 5G devices, even though they wouldn’t go as far as collaborating with one another just yet.

    The fact of the matter is that Qi charging has become a prerequisite for any high-end smartphone at the moment. So the next logical step here is to have these phones integrate 5G capabilities without affecting their battery life in any substantial way. Those of you who have paid attention to market trends will know that it isn’t exactly easy for giant manufacturers to agree on a specific standard.

    Bear in mind that at this point in time, no less than 50% of 5G smartphones on the market already incorporate Qi-charging capabilities. As newer phones make their way into the 5G ecosystem, we can expect them to also feature Qi-charging capabilities. If not, then a similar inductive-based wireless charging standard for good measure.

    When looking at what the market has in store with respect to emerging technological trends, we can make a few clear-cut observations regarding wireless charging initiatives and 5G capabilities. First of all, larger batteries and faster charging times are on the horizon for most high-end devices. This is something that manufacturers have been promising for quite some time now and the engineering finally seems to have caught up with the promises.

    It also seems that 5G networking allows for much greater security overall, both for the user and for whoever is running the network. This plays straight into the need for larger batteries and faster charging times seeing how most people will soon enough own wireless chargers or similar inductive-charging stations.

    For the time being, however, 5G networks are still few and far in between, at least throughout the western world. The situation looks much better on the Asian market, especially in China where a handful (quite reliable) of 5G networks are already up and running. In due time, we can expect the scope to reach global proportions because let’s face it, who doesn’t want faster, more reliable internet?