Wireless charging has still yet to completely take off. A handful of Android phones and now the Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone X support the technology, which requires you to place the phone on a charging mat to recharge without connecting a cable.
But completely wire-free charging could become a real thing next year after the Energous WattUp charging system has finally been given FCC approval. The WattUp system was first shown at CES 2015 and at the time it was believed the technology would roll out the following year, but it wasn't to be.
Energous will now return to CES next month to demonstrate its technology once again, which sees a transmitter plugged into a mains socket that can wirelessly send an RF signal to a receiver fitted into all manner of devices, which is then turned into battery power. It's the first time a non-contact-based wireless charging system has been approved by the FCC.
The FCC has only approved the first-generation Mid Field WattUp transmitter, which can wirelessly send a signal up to three feet away. When the technology was shown at CES 2015, Energous envisaged it being able to work at distances up to 20 feet. The system can however charge multiple devices at once until they are topped off.
Stephen R. Rizzone, president and CEO of Energous said: "Older wireless charging technologies have received limited adoption over the past 15 years, and are confined to contact-based charging only. The FCC certification of Energous' power-at-a-distance wireless charging transmitter is a major market milestone."
"It opens up options, outside of just contact-based charging, to Wireless Charging 2.0: an ecosystem where devices can be charged both, via pad and at a distance,"
"Untethered, wire-free charging -- such as charging a fitness band even while wearing it -- is exactly what consumers have been waiting for. We are now in a position to move our consumer electronics, IoT and smart home customers forward at an accelerated pace."
A receiver can be integrated into virtually any electronic device, be it smartphone, wearable, earphones, wireless keyboard, smart speakers and more. When WattUp was first unveiled in 2015, it was strongly linked to Apple, with the hope being the technology would find its way into the iPhone.
Now that the technology has been approved and Apple has already adopted wireless charging technology, could we see wire-free charging introduced with the 2018 iPhone? The speculators out there would certainly say so, but for now we'll have to wait and see what Energous has to say about the technology in Las Vegas next month.