back to article Wireless Power standards are like Highlanders: There can be only ONE

It has been more than 100 years since the first wireless power systems were demonstrated and the principles are about as well-known as any in the technology field. While wireless networking has been the norm for over a decade, wireless power is still very much in its infancy and is years away from mass adoption. Last week, …

  1. Alastair Dodd 1

    I use Chee (Qi) now and it's excellent

    One issue though with my Nexus 5 it appears that the battery runs down faster after qi charging than normal usb. Anybody else noticed this?

    1. Bassey

      Re: I use Chee (Qi) now and it's excellent

      Yes, and I have a theory as to why. If I leave my phone on the charge pad overnight, once fully charged, the phone and pad communicate to say "Hey, I'm full, you can turn off the current now". This might happen at 2am. Of course, by the time I wake and pick up the phone it hasn't been charging for the last five hours or so - but, Android isn't reflecting this. It is on a charge pad and had been fully charged so Android shows 100%.

      I find it drops VERY quickly for the first hour or two and then levels off so I think it is Android just catching up with the fact that the battery has been draining for five hours or so. To mitigate this I have phoneweaver installed (an automatic profile manager). At midnight it switches into night mode which turns most things off (bluetooth, WiFi, phone data, data sync etc). It still works as an alarm clock and I can still get calls and texts but it is basically a dumb-phone until 7am when everything gets automatically switched back on. That way, the drain over that five hours or so after it has finishes charging is minimal.

      Of course, I could be talking utter bollocks.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Ah, the wonders of technology

        When I go to bed, I either turn off the damn thing, or put it in flight mode.

        Manual management works.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I use Chee (Qi) now and it's excellent

      There was a bug in older versions of KitKit that did this. Make sure you are running 4.4.4

  2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Betamax Vs VHS

    Didn't VHS win over Betamax because Sony refused to allow pr0n films to be released on Betamax? So the obvious answer to the wireless charging wars is for one of the alliances to release "adult" toys supporting their wireless charging system.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Betamax Vs VHS

      Betamax cost more, simple as that.

      Plus initial Betamax recorders were limited to 60 mins of recording compared to 120 for VHS and it wasn't until the mid 80s that Betamax could do the same as VHS.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Betamax Vs VHS

      No... Please disconnect from the internet now, you clearly read everything you read online. That's a total urban myth.

      VHS was cheaper to manufacture, as it used cheaper components (which was mostly to blame for it's inferior performance). This was attractive to manufacturers. This started the ball rolling towards VHS hardware, rental stores then stocked more VHS movies, and the circle was complete. Nothing to do wirth P0rn at all.

      It's the Plasma vs LCD thing. Plasmas vastly outperform LCD's in performance terms, even now, but manufacturers want to product LCD, as it's profit margins are sky high, due to it being cheap to make. Who cares about picture quality, consumers are easily brainwashed by thin televisions.

      Thankfully sometimes better technologies do succeed. Despite Microsoft and Toshibas best efforts at brainwashing the entire internet over HD-DVD, Blu-Ray (the superior tech) won over.

      Sadly however the Wireless charging is shaping up to be another great anti-consumer farce. With one side enabling devices (QI), and the others getting their chargers in hotel rooms and other public places. Meaning the world has incompatible devices and chargers....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Betamax Vs VHS

        More "internet wrongness"

        Sony refused to allow licences for betamax devices to be built by anyone other than Sony.

        JVC (Victor Company of Japan) inventors of VHS threw the licenses around like confetti.

        So almost ALL companies adopted VHS...

        The end...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a waste

    Such a complete waste of time, money, the efforts of so many bright people, and (eventually) redundant hardware that just ends up in landfill - principally because this isn't some kind of evolutionary survival-of-the-fittest competition, where eventually we'll have the best solution, but instead a sordid corporate power-grab that could easily leave the poor sods paying for all this (us) with the worst solution. Much as I generally dislike governments picking winners, there are instances like this where it would be better for everybody (except the suits) if a hefty regulator mandated a standard. We would consider it crazy not to do that for wired power sockets/plugs, it worked brilliantly for GSM, and we even have an EU-mandated wired charging standard for phones, so why not in this case?

    1. cambsukguy

      Re: What a waste

      Welcome to Capitalism, regulation comes much later, after the dust has settled and the 'winner' is chosen by market forces (i.e. marketing, I used Betamax, cheaper too).

      It would be great for techies, without prejudice, to choose the superior system and mandate its use. Unfortunately, human nature seems to prevent this idealised method, at least the several attempts at countries operating this way didn't work out well.

      Mind you, is there a best here? Seems like we would get the dual system and that can't make for a simpler, lighter device.

      I use a Qi phone, have done for a couple of years. I have two charger bases at home and one for work if required. My phone rarely has less than 70% charge so the system is already established and functional as far as I am concerned. The fact that it will just get better (tablet charging, car seat charging etc.) is icing on the cake.

  4. Don Dumb

    I'm living in a future world

    "Induction cooking could revolutionize kitchen designs, for example."

    Yes, it could, if this is the 1950s. I don't know if the author is trying to be humourous but induction cookers are, and have been, quite common in Europe and the UK. I've been in several houses with induction cookers.

    You'd be amazed at how my cheap electric toothbrush has charged for the last decade - as if by magic.

    1. Jason Bloomberg

      Re: I'm living in a future world

      As we already have the means - simply design the kit so it can be placed on the hob to recharge.

    2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: I'm living in a future world

      Yeah, induction cooking. It sounds like a great plan. Until they change the standard and you need to throw out all your frying pans when you get a new stove or vice versa. I'll stick with stuff that can be cooked over an open flame. Monopolies can't patent away my ability to make fucking fire.

      1. Alister

        Re: I'm living in a future world


        Ah, Mr Pott, sorry to bother you, but you seem to be using combustion of carbon-based materials in the presence of oxygen to produce heat and light, which is in direct contravention of USPTO-2986564-F.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: I'm living in a future world

          Ah, I see your mistake, good sir. No, no, we're combusting aluminium powder. That's right, nothing to see here. Sorry to bother you...

  5. chr0m4t1c

    It never ceases to amaze me

    How can so many people be so clever and so dumb at the same time?

    If they spent more time considering the public (whom they claim to care about) instead of how much money they can make from "their" standard, then we would have had all of this years ago.


    Well if you want to get the mobile market going you will either have to get Apple on board (I know people will hate me saying that), or get a credible rumour going that Apple will be putting the tech in the next iThings so that Samsung jam it into their devices as fast as they can.

    Tiny bit cynical, I know.

  6. returnmyjedi

    Qi burger

    They've got qi chargers in my local (ish) McDonald's, so if it's good enough for that creepy clown it's good enough for me.

    1. cs94njw

      Re: Qi burger

      I was thinking about this recently.

      Phone manufacturers can't build good enough batteries at the moment.

      Solution: Invest in wireless power, by installing in restaurant/bar chains.

      Once people can charge their phone at easy to find places, and places they regularly visit, they'll no longer fixate on bigger batteries.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Qi burger

        "Once people can charge their phone at easy to find places, and places they regularly visit, they'll no longer fixate on bigger batteries."

        Yes, there does seem to be an assumption that most of us "on the move" spend a lot of time in coffee shops, fast food cafes (They are NOT resturants) and hotels.

        In general, these places like to create a relaxed and unhurried atmosphere while at the same time trying to get the fastest throughput possible at the seats so as to increase customer turnover and profits. Encouraging people to hang around longer while they get a decent chage on their phone seems counter-intutive to their business model.

        Just how much useful charge will one of these pads give your phone in the 15 mins or so you are in a coffee shop?

        1. AndrueC Silver badge

          Re: Qi burger

          Just how much useful charge will one of these pads give your phone in the 15 mins or so you are in a coffee shop?

          If someone nicks your phone because you left it lying in the open on a charging pad that becomes a moot point ;)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Qi burger

      if you want to see a creepy clown, watch American Horror: Freak show (S04).

      Twisty the clown.

  7. Measurer


    Although clearly tuned to different frequencies, I wouldn't want my wireless charging phone to be in the vicinity of my induction hob when hob turned to 11, as some current will be induced in the receiver coil of the phone etc. (depending on Q value of tuned circuits etc.).

  8. Alan Denman

    the heat is on

    well, a side product of these is extra heat generation and thus low battery lifespan.

    Maybe that Qi cuts off at somewhere above 60% to counteract some of this big negatives ?

  9. Matt_payne666

    I live in a temporary wireless charging world...

    the free Qi charger with my Nokia 930 has a built in battery - plugged in its a normal charging plate, but free it from it usb cable and I can charge my phone without any wires!

  10. Cuddles Silver badge

    Wireless Power standards: There is only ONE

    You may not guarantee winning a standards war by being technically the best, but you're even less likely to win it if you don't actually have any products available for consumers. As things stand, there is no standards war because as far consumers are concerned Qi is the only standard that exists. While there may be valid points regarding these things intake years to settle and there still being plenty of devices around that don't use wireless power at all, the longer we go with Qi as the only player actually in the market, the closer they come to winning by default.

  11. Peter Gordon

    Can't they all just

    support the Palm Touchstone? I've got loads of those ;-)

  12. FlossyThePig

    What about the big stuff?

    I thought the article would be about wireless power standards in general, not just pocket ephemera.

    No need to plug in electric cars if they can be charged by induction. I believe there are some buses that can do this already (but is there a standard method).

  13. NightFox

    As a matter of interest, does anyone know how the energy efficiency of wireless charging compares to traditional plug-in charging? For simplicity, let's ignore any power usage by the chargers when the device isn't actually connected to them.

    1. Martin-73

      It's not high

      Somewhere between 10 and 60% depending on distance from the pad (and the difference in distance between those is only mm).

      Cite: Various electronics youtube channels with people doing unwieldy things with bare charging boards from china by mailorder

      1. Chris Evans

        Re: It's not high

        10-60% efficient! I'd call 60% very inefficient not "ensuring a high level of efficiency in energy transfer". Why the article did pick up on this point I don't know. Sloppy reporting.

  14. Dr Trevor Marshall

    The human body will decide the winner (if any)

    We live in an era when science is only just beginning to understand the human brain, and its signalling. Some studies are starting to show an unexpected interaction between RF fields and the human body, especially the brain (which is now known to control the immune system). I would argue that it is pure science -- whether high-energy RF is still regarded as completely safe in 2020 -- which will choose 'the winner.'

    1. Don Dumb

      Re: The human body will decide the winner (if any)


      I'm guessing these 'studies' (remember kids a study is not a peer reviewed publication) are on your own website Dr Charlatan. I make this conclusion because you clearly haven't understood what the article is talking about and furthermore you are someone who publishes papers in a web journal for which you are on the advisory panel - and unsuprisingly none of the publications made in your online journal have ever been accepted for publication in PubMed, the officially recognised database.

      Why don't you go share ethics lessons with Andrew Wakefield?

      * - dear El Reg, please can we have a Bullshit icon.

      1. Dr Trevor Marshall

        Re: The human body will decide the winner (if any)

        " .. none of the publications made in your online journal have ever been accepted for publication in PubMed, the officially recognised database .."

        Dear Don Dumb,

        Actually, I have many papers in Pubmed. In prestigious journals too. One dating back to 1982, but most in the last few years. And I speak at medical conferences all over the world. So it is always a pleasure to try and start a sensible conversation at el Reg :)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rings of fire

    I do hope the EMC implications are being considered, as both those frequencies overlap with broadcasting bands and other applications.

    And I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a rash of minor but unpleasant incidents when 120W of RF finds a way of resonating with the various bits of metal that adorn some human bodies these days. Or is encouraged to do so by those of an experimental nature.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: The human body will decide the winner (if any)

    Waldo by Robert A. Heinlein anyone

  17. Peter 26

    Too slow

    I got the Nexus 5 when it was released and pretty much every wireless charger to go with it.

    These days I only use wireless charging when in the car on a short journey or when I plonk the phone on my desk wireless charger. Any time my battery is >70% full anyway, just to keep it topped up.

    The problem is they are no competition to a good 2 Amp wired charger. Wireless takes twice as long to charge. If I actually need to charge it as it's running out or I am going on a long car journey, I always go for a wired charger.

  18. Zola

    Love my Panasonic Qi charger

    QE-TM101 on YouTube

    It charges my Nexus 7 2013 tablet without any problem - no dimples on the device required for perfect alignment, it finds the device no matter the orientation.

    Having used Qi charging for the last year, I'd never buy another mobile product - tablet or smartphone - that doesn't support Qi wireless charging. Connecting a USB cable to charge is so last century.

    It's a shame the resonating charger guys are focusing all their efforts on installing chargers in public spaces rather than getting their receivers into devices - presumably they think they're playing the long game but ultimately they're just being complete dicks.

  19. Unicornpiss

    Tinfoil hat...

    While this sounds like a good idea, I wonder how much more EMI/RFI pollution these will add to the environment when every home and public place has them. Yes, they are short range, but the ocean is ultimately made up of single raindrops.

  20. Jim84

    Witricity can apparently do wireless power over several meters

    Which would neatly solve the problem noted by Iain that in a lot of cases outside of cars, coffeeshops, and aeroplanes we'd still be lugging around a wireless charging pad and cable.

    I'm guessing that in the future a lot of lights in the middle of ceilings will get a large Wtiricity solenoid placed above them so that your laptop, mobile, and even TV don't need to be plugged in with only really power hungry appliances such as kettles being plugged into the walls.

  21. GrumpyOldMan

    Wired still best?

    "...but not everyone remembers or wants to carry a USB wire around – in the same way not everyone carries around an Ethernet cable these days."

    Yup - I do. Always. Sometimes 2 of each. So when those who don't have them can't get onto WiFi, and I'm plugged in and the only one in the group with a web connection or I'm getting great download speeds, guess who's the hero? And when others have forgotten their USB chargers and cables, and desperately need to "borrow" one - well... form an orderly queue.

    I have been in both of these scenarios many times. The cables cost practically nothing, weigh practically nothing and live in a small, rarely opened compartment in my laptop bag. Along with a bunch of video converters so I can use my laptop on the hotel's HDMI telly. Saved my bacon many times.

  22. Crisp

    How does Kamil Grajski expect to be taken seriously?

    He's not even wearing a t-shirt.

  23. Wiltshire

    US patent 1119732

    Are we reinventing wheels, in a piddling kind of way?

    Tesla's US patent 1119732 for "Apparatus for transmitting electrical energy" is on public record, and he was testing systems with 1,500 KW capacity.

    More here in the Stack Exchange article.

    Their conclusion seems to be technically feasible but commercially not viable.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022