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Tech Trends for 2017: Wireless charging

Available in some high-street coffee shops and fast food chains for some time, recent advancements will see wireless charging take off next year

We’ve all been there: Our phone battery dies and we don't have access to a charger or charging point nearby.

Well in 2017, the days of having no battery will become a thing of the past as wireless charging finally hits the mainstream.

Currently, IKEA offers a wide range of wireless and portable charging units including phone covers, floor lamps, table lamps and bedside table.

By no means a domestic phenomenon, wireless charging has been making more and more appearances on the high-street in recent years, with McDonalds and Starbucks having launched wireless charging services in some of their UK stores.

The BMW 7 Series also comes with an in-car wireless charging dock, which can charge two devices at once. The car is also programmed to alert you in case you forget your phone in the charging pocket after you switch off the ignition.

With the mobile phone accessory market worth $81.5bn in 2015, and forecast to grow to $101bn by 2020, magnetic micro docks will become more visible in the coming months with the release of The Nodus Collection’s Micro Dock. Using N52 magnets, the dock enables consumers to magnetically dock their iPhone anywhere – such as a bedroom wall.

One disadvantage of wireless charging however, is that for the majority of smartphones (excluding very new models) the charging process is a lot slower than using a more traditional charger and socket – with most models taking a few hours to charge via a wireless docking station.

How it works

Using an electromagnetic field to transfer energy between two objects, wireless charging (also called inductive charging) allows you to transform a range of household objects into portable charging docks – such as your bedside table and desk.

While it rids you of ever having to deal with tangled wires again, wireless charging also holds an added advantage of being more durable than a standard phone changer. It’s also more environmentally friendly as there is no electronic waste, and energy transfer is non-radioactive.

While not all smartphones are currently compatible with wireless charging, for most models you’ll be able to buy special phone cases which will enable you to do so.

Geek Squad, explains: “Without getting too technical, wireless charging uses two coils of wire, one in the charger and one in the device itself. An alternating current passes through the coil in the charger, which generates a fluctuating electromagnetic field.

“When the coil in the device is placed inside this electromagnetic field, a current is induced in the coil, which then charges the device's battery. This is why wireless charging is sometimes known as inductive charging.”


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