Qualcomm WiPower coming to your home and car soon

Qualcomm's WiPower platform is expected to ship in the first half of this year to manufacturing partners, with the technology hopefully appearing in OEM's products before 2012 is up.

That's according to Mark Hunsicker, Qualcomm's senior director, product management and business development, who Pocket-lint caught up with at MWC. He said that evaluation kits would be sent out to manufacturers soon.

What this means is that we could be seeing wireless charging solutions installed into everything from kitchen tables to bed side cabinets, from car glove boxes to dashboards.

And that's because, unlike wireless charging solutions from the likes of Duracell with its Powermat setup, Qualcomm isn't working on a simple mat to ship as a product, it is looking to expand the technology into everyday surfaces.

"It's relatively straightforward technology, it's been around for a number of years but this approach, which provides the freedom of placement and the freedom of design - the x,y and the z capabilities - is really going to be a catalyst that is going to drive the market," Hunsicker told us during a one-to-one briefing in Barcelona.

This "x, y and z" aspect refers to the flexible coupling feature of the technology. The "x and y" are where the device sits and the "z" refers to the height allowance.This means you can throw devices on to a WiPower surface and no matter where it lands, it will charge.  Because WiPower can work even without contact - up to a height of 40mm the juice required to charge your tech can still be beamed over.

The "z" is tunable as well (25-40mm) which means that when it comes to fitting the tech into real objects - tables, work counters, dashboards and so on - the OEM will be able to have the point of contact as the optimum charging point. WiPower can charge multiple items at once and isn't affected by small metal objects such as keys and coins.

Qualcomm is ready to go live with WiPower now because it has the platform at a stage where your phone or tablet will work just as well while under its spell as away from it.

"A year ago we had wireless power transfer nailed," explained Hunsicker. "Now, not only can you do the power transfer but we're going to make sure that we meet all the regulatory requirements.

"We have been heavily focused with operations teams to make sure that the operation of the device on the pad mirrors the operation of the device off the pad. All your radios are unaffected; your Wi-Fi, your Bluetooth, your GPS - all your wireless radios."

So, presuming the OEMs get their acts together, we could be seeing some WiPower action in the not too distant future. Power-up!

Note: Qualcomm asked us to point out that the Samsung devices used for the demo purposes were charging only because they were fitted with special conductors. Obviously that is not the plan going forward; the idea is to have the technology embedded into devices out of the box.



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