One of the biggest up and ups this year? Wireless charging

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| January 10, 2014

CES 2014 is winding down now, and with its end we can reflect on some of the new tech we'll be seeing this year: curved displays on TVs and smartphones, a fancy upgrade to the Pebble smartwatch, and a weird plot twist from T-Mobile that pays for your ETF if you decide you wanna roll with the Magenta carrier. While all of that is all good news and interesting to hear, another quieter bit of news surfaced that probably made me smile a little harder than anything else I was reading about this week: wider adoption of wireless charging in 2014.

I guess it kind of sounds silly that I'm that excited about something as seemingly insignificant as wireless charging, but once you work in the retail side of the mobile industry and you see how many people come in with charging ports that were clearly victims of homicide by microUSB plug-ins you'd probably understand a little more. You probably understand anyway, as you've probably had a charging port issue or two of your own at some point in your life. One of the worst things to experience is rushing to the charger when your phone is about to die only to find out that your charging port is not having any of it. None. Nada. A charge ye shall not have. Instant sadness, right?

Not when there's wireless charging to save the day! 

I've never had a phone that supported wireless charging before the Lumia 928, and I just ordered my first Qi wireless charger yesterday because I'm going to take advantage of that feature like there's no tomorrow. Need to charge a phone? No more messing with that pesky cord, now I'll just set it down on the charging pad and voila - presto charge-o. 

So far the Lumia line is probably the most well-known device line that supports wireless charging, but the Nexus 5 also supports wireless charging. I imagine the Nexus line will continue to tout from this point on. As for other models of phones, not many actually have built-in wireless charging, but it has been reported that 60 phones in 2014 will also support wireless charging. Undoubtedly this is the biggest push we've seen yet to make this a staple feature in smartphones. To me, it looks like the push that has needed to happen for some time now.

Wireless charging, as it currently stands, isn't as effective as charging through a charging port and cord. Arstechnica did a mini review of wireless charging on the Nexus 5, where they found that it took the device two hours and 56 minutes to charge fully through traditional charging methods, where as wireless took twice as long at six hours and six minutes. While charging through a charging port is definitely more effective for that on-the-go charging that a lot of people need in their lives, wireless charging is still a great alternative for charging through the night (given that you sleep for at least six or so hours). Not only does having wireless charging give you an alternative method for charging your device should one or the other stop working for whatever reason, but it can also make your charging port last longer by not having to mess with plug-ins. 

I've been a pretty big advocate of including wireless charging built-in to smartphones at this point, so it makes me pretty happy to say the least to know that it's finally being widely adopted by most big-name manufacturers. I look forward to the advancements that will inevitably come out of this sudden widespread adoption. Who knows how long (or short) of a wait we'll have until wireless charging catches up to the speed and efficiency of charging through the charging port? 

What are your thoughts on wireless charging, readers? Would you use it if it is a feature on your next smartphone? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Image via CNet

Products mentioned