A path-breaker who changed the face of the smartphone business by making it more consumer-friendly now has innovation on its mind.
Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi took to Twitter to lift the lid on its latest technological leap in its new “remote charging technology” called the Mi Air Charge. The revolutionary new technology, which promises to make living rooms wire-free, can wirelessly charge multiple devices simultaneously without connecting any cables or placing your devices on a wireless charging stand.
Even though normal inductive wireless charging has been around there for quite some time, Xiaomi seems to have beaten all its rivals to the punch with the kind of enhancements introduced in the Mi Air Charger’s launch.
According to the company, the Mi Air Charge technology is capable of delivering 5W of power to a single device over a distance of a couple of meters from the “self-developed isolated charging pile”. The said charging pile has 5 phase interference, which helps the antennas to accurately map out and reach the position of the mobile device. After the position of the device has been determined, a phase control array composed of 144 antennas directionally transmits millimetre-wide waves through beamforming. Then, the receiving device, which has a miniaturized antenna array with a built-in “beacon antenna”, broadcasts the positional information, and the “receiving antenna array”, a 14 antenna array, is used to convert the millimetre-wave signal into electrical energy through the rectifier circuit. Fascinating stuff!
Going through the Mi Air Charger’s working, it is readily apparent this new technology is not just a run of the mill enhancement but holds real promise. Particularly when we consider how it does not require devices to be in close proximity.
At the moment, however, the company has confirmed that the Mi Air Charger is just a tech demo. That being said, the company has very positive ambitions of utilizing the self-developed space isolation charging technology to work with smartwatches, bracelets, wearable devices, and other small smart home products in the future.
Even though this bringing this slinky new technology to the front is subject to many structural and implementational challenges, what does this spell for the broader smartphone game?
Has it ushered in a new era?
Mi Air Charger: Growth Driver
The Air Charger’s technology has the capacity to light up a new dawn for the smartphone industry. For starters, this could be a huge deal alone for signalling the beginning of the end of cables.
With the ever-rising popularity of hybrid cars, smartphones, laptops, smart wearable and other medical and consumer devices, all these are huge factors behind the driving need for wireless charging. The acceleration over the past couple of years has been such that the Wireless Charging Market is expected to rise with a CAGR of 30% during the forecast period 2019-2025 and touch $27 billion revenue by 2025.
For the smartphone sphere, the imminent 5G technology is expected to be another force behind the growth of the wireless charging market in the near future. As consumers are looking to have a real deal while buying a premium smartphone version with 5G capabilities, the wireless Air charging technology would be a significant value addition to make people fall for those devices.
It is true that the wireless charging space has seen substantial industry interest over the past several years, but as technology integrators crave new differentiators, wireless charging is in a perfect position to benefit from it.
It looks like with the introduction of this shattering new move, technology developers and integrators have teamed up to push wireless charging implementation in the smartphone markets by eventually overrriding the charger chapter.
If you look at the technology in general, wireless transmitters can be found at many places, ranging from furniture, airport terminals to restaurants. Down the road, pending success, what is a novelty now could become the standard, with many organizations having echoed their sentiments to bring these sort of devices to the mass market.
To gauge the impact of the wireless charger, it could be quite similar to the boom of the camera-centric smartphones we have witnessed in the past decade.
But has the way really paved for Xiaomi for converting this attempt into reality?
Several have promised but not delivered
Demo or concept, the sheer specifics of the Mi Air Charger make it a notable accomplishment. But the cold fact remains that many prominent organizations have tried their hand at bringing this tech to the consumer, only to have flattered to deceive.
Cupertino-based Apple has reportedly been working on a new wireless charging system that could charge devices without cables or charging mats for years on end. The company has filed many patents for it over the years, but none of them have close to materializing. And MagSafe is not exactly what the world hoped for either.
Again, companies like Energous have been going on about “truly wireless charging” for several years, but their technology has been yet to gain any serious traction.
The scepticism of the consumer base about the prospect of this charging technology making it to market is only understandable then.
However, in Xiaomi’s case, the wireless charging engineering breakthroughs it has demonstrated in the past, coupled with the advantage of owning a huge hardware ecosystem that it could theoretically leverage is a huge ace up its sleeve. It is indeed better placed than all who have come before to translate their tech into reality.
As it stands, Xiaomi has already pointed out that it could take a while for the technology to available as a consumer product. But rest assured, with the headway it has made with the Air Charger, the world will await with bated breath.
So fasten your seat belts and stay tuned for more updates.