From the day the wireless charging pad was first made, it’s been hailed as the alternative to tangled cables, a travel-friendly savior that would be a no-brainer for manufacturers to sell.
But the wireless charging pad hasn’t lived up to its hype.
It couldn’t become a proper cure for people’s dependence on power cables because various mobile devices used competing standards. No one wanted, say, three different pads to juice up a few different devices.
Yet the tide may be turning, thanks to a new industry standard.Various devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and other devices, can now use the same charger.
The Wireless Power Consortium, a group dedicated to creating a standard for inductive wireless charging, recently began promoting theÂ Qi (pronounced chi, orÂ chee)Â specification as a standard.
Major consumer-electronics firms, such as Philips, Sanyo, and 120 other companies, have embraced the QiÂ specification for pads based onÂ magnetic induction.
This month may be a turning point
This product launch is the biggest oneÂ yet to support the technology, notesÂ Michelle Maisto eWEEK USA in a sharp piece of analysis today.
Not only do Lumia smartphonesâ€™ batteries work with the new standard, but Nokia stores will be touting wireless charging pads as accessories.
One of these is the Fatboy Recharge PillowÂ DT-901. Place your Lumia on it, and charge it during the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee, according to the manufacturer.
But thanks to the new standard, you don’t have to buy one of Nokia’s touted pads if you want one that’s compatible.
One alternative isÂ TDK’s new wireless charging speaker, which lets you put your device on top of the speaker, which has the charging pad built in.
A dozen other phones in development by other manufacturers and being promoted by major companies, such as Verizon Wireless, are rolling out to stores in the US and Europe.
Soon, some pads will be capable of charging more than one device at a time on a pad. At that point, the technology may go mainstream.
The future for hotels and airports
There’s an ongoing discussion in the hospitality industry about how wifi and other tech-related services for guests should become standard and free utilities, similar to towels and toilet rolls.
Wireless charging pads could become another of those amenities.
In the vanguard isÂ Virgin Atlantic, which announced last week that it will be installing the Fatboy Recharge Pillows in its Heathrow Airport lounges, called Clubhouses.
The goal is to help travelers who become frustrated with the short battery life of their devices.
Hotel chains may quickly find themselves in a dogfight over big-spending business travelers, as websites and apps point users to the places where wireless charging pads are available as free amenities.
Says Maisto of eWEEK:
“In Japan, the technology took off eight or nine months ago, and very quickly was on more than two million devices, complemented by mobile apps that help users to find bars or restaurants that make Qi chargers available.”
Apple’s iPhones aren’t yet compatible, but Apple has “a relationship” with a company called Fulton Innovation, which does provide wireless charging pads.
Fulton Innovation specializes in inductive charging and otherÂ ”efficient wireless power solutions.”
The day of hotel guests wanting to be unleashed from power cables may finally arrive in the next five years — after a long delay.
NB: Image of Fatboy with Nokia Lumia 920 courtesy of Nokia.