Wireless charging should be a standard

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from Kansas City, MO
Published: March 9, 2013

 

I am a woman who likes her options to be open. More options bring more solutions to potential problems, and when it comes to charging our cells phones the same statement holds true. The idea of wireless (also known as ‘inductive’) charging has been around for a long time, and as far as I know nobody has patented the idea, so why haven’t more companies taken it to the next level?

Wireless charging, for the most part, isn’t as effective at charging the battery as plugging in the device is. Not yet, anyway. It still does its job by charging the battery a considerable amount at least, but I bet if the method was in higher demand more companies would work harder on making it more efficient at charging. One of the top features of the Nokia Lumia 920 is that it featured wireless charging, so where are companies like Apple and Samsung at? Why can your phone track my eyes and head but I can’t plop my phone down on a magical charging force field? A second charging method would be ideal for features like Smart Scrolling and Smart Pause, which is presumed to suck the battery life right out of the device. In fact, it would be ideal for any device that isn’t stuck on phone life support all day long.

Aside from being beneficial to devices that have abysmal battery life to begin with, it’s also a nice option to have in terms of reliability.

When working at Sprint, I usually had at least one or two people day who would come in reporting charging problems. After opening up  the device we would often times discover that something was awry with the charging port, and unless it was a fixable problem (usually it was not) we would have to order another device for the customer – which may have been cheap, or it may not have been, depending on if the customer carried insurance or not. For the customer that carried insurance, no big deal; order the phone, receive it in a few days. For the customer without insurance, however, you might end up in a predicament where you have to pay full price for the same device – generally not something anybody wants to hear. But if wireless charging was the everyday norm for devices, the news wouldn't be as devestating as the customer would have more than one option for charging a device; a backup method. Wireless charging would solve a huge chunk of that problem, among others.

If wireless charging on phones was a standard, we could very well ditch travel chargers altogether in the near future. Imagine being able to install a wireless charging hub in your car so more than one device can easily charge at one time. Hotels, coffee shops, and restaurants could all have small areas on the table where you set your phone down and allow it to charge – it could become a standard that’s similar to free Wi-Fi. This idea would eliminate the facepalm effect people experience when they realize they’ve forgotten their charger at home. Then again, those of us with iPhones are really the only ones losing out because forgetting a 19-pin or lightning charger at home is a little more difficult to solve than if you lost a universal micro USB cable – which are available just about anywhere. Regardless, you have to admit that it would be a lot more hassle-free if you knew that “charging hubs” were the norm in just about every building.

In addition to being able to solve our cell phone charging issues, it’s also a good first step towards other hopeful technologies being able to use the same method. Yeah, at first it would start out small and probably unworkable for a lot of things, but as time goes on and technology advances bigger things like standard household appliances and even cars may be able to benefit from wireless charging technology. It may even be the solution we’ve needed to get rid of the amount of standard batteries we often see in landfills – but it has to start somewhere small first.

And what small gadgets would be better to test with than our phones?

I know we have the means to do it at this point, but we really need the conjoined efforts of all manufacturers to help make this method of charging mainstream. I would really enjoy seeing inductive charging as a standard feature of smartphones in the future soon.

Readers, what how do you feel about wireless charging? Do you think it’s the way of the future, or would you prefer to bring your own charger with you and stick with the plug-n-charge method? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

 

Image via CNet

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