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Dell to spearhead laptop wireless charging

by Mark Tyson on 21 February 2014, 12:18

Tags: Dell (NASDAQ:DELL)

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Dell has moved to become the first major PC manufacturer to align itself with a wireless charging standard. There are three rival standard groups vying for pole position in this industry and Dell chose the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP). As more smartphones and other mobile devices can be charged wirelessly it’s natural that laptops should be the next step for this functionality.

A4WP's unique selling point is that its wireless charging system can charge multiple devices simultaneously. The user has no need to precisely 'dock' the device and the "power levels and charging speed will meet the expectations of today’s 'always on, always connected' user," we are told in a news release on the A4WP blog. The alliance informs us that it is just about to start a new charging initiative to focus upon devices which require between 20 to 50 watts including Ultrabooks, laptops and other mid-power appliances.

This potentially higher powered near-field magnetic resonance technology is called Rezence. It addresses first generation wireless power tech limitations of device positioning, range and utility to multiple devices. Rezence also can handle different power requirements at the same time and isn't disrupted by the presence of metal objects like keys, coins or metal devices. Another interesting feature is that Bluetooth is utilised for the device to communicate its power requirements and thus it doesn't need extra hardware for that purpose.

"We are excited to work with other industry leaders in the A4WP to deliver on the promise of easy, flexible wireless charging across an array of mobile devices including smartphones, tablets and laptops," said Glen Robson, Dell VP and CTO about the new partnership. He said that wireless charging will improve customer experiences in homes and businesses over the next few years. Other well known companies with A4WP membership include Broadcom, Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung, Fujitsu, HTC, LG, Panasonic, and SanDisk. Dell hasn't announced any specific products which will use Rezence as yet.

Chargers meeting A4WP specifications are flexible enough for a multitude of industrial design applications, we are told. Solutions can easily be installed in "all types of products and surfaces," including furniture (see video above) and cars.



HEXUS Forums :: 15 Comments

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With the addition of good wireless display tech this could be a pretty great docking solution, although 35W can't leave much over for charging after a decent sized screen?
But how will they do Vendor Lock-in without proprietary charger plugs?
herulach
With the addition of good wireless display tech this could be a pretty great docking solution, although 35W can't leave much over for charging after a decent sized screen?


My thoughts exactly - if they can get a standardised business grade variant sorted they'll bag a shedoad of corporate buys.
edzieba
But how will they do Vendor Lock-in without proprietary charger plugs?

It includes a data spec, so you could easily have it work with only one type of charger, however, in theory all a4wp chargers should be compatible.
Business environments only really, who actually uses a LAPtop on a fixed regular desk at home very often (i.e. not the kitchen table, coffee table etc)? I can see the application for integrating into the likes of train tables or meeting room desks to reduce cable clutter in environments where its a bigger hassle but otherwise I really don't see the benefit over docks and charger cables. Wireless power seems inherently wasteful due to lower efficiency and in the era of rising bills and energy costs as our fossil fuels dwindle I find it rather hard to reconcile the tiny increase in convenience against the higher costs of operation.