Wireless Charging is Blowing Up Faster Than We Thought

by Adam English, Outsider Club In spite of years of seeing the same thing happen time and time again, it is always hard to keep up. In essence, it is a variation of the classic “hurry up and wait.” A groundbreaking technology comes to our attention, but it is limited to layman summaries of scientific journals, and the tech hasn’t made it out of university labs yet. The first burst of news subsides as licensing, R&D agreements, and initial commercialization slowly progresses behind closed doors. Some early attempts at commercialization may happen, but they fail to live up to the potential. The sector is fragmented and unprofitable, leading investors to write off the idea en masse. Then, after a wait of several years, a flurry of bullish news breaks in rapid succession. The tech is ready for the prime time. If you don’t stay on top of it, an entirely new market is already widespread. Early innovators in companies with the best products see share prices soar to high valuations based on growth and forward-looking estimates. But if you are lulled into indifference by the slow news early in the cycle, you’ll just end up as yet another latecomer who missed all the gains. That is what is happening right now with wireless charging. The news is coming faster and faster, we’re just starting to see how the market will pan out, and the window to capture large gains is closing. Fast and Furious Wireless charging is certainly nothing new. After all, Tesla (the scientist) was working on it a good 100 years ago. Our wireless toothbrushes have been using it for decades. But the real issue was moving a suitable amount of electricity to power-hungry, miniaturized electronics like smartphones and laptops. Even though it was known for some time that the technology could transmit enough power, it wasn’t until the last couple years that breakthroughs moved from the lab into commercial products. Starbucks announced a nationwide rollout of wireless charging technology back in June of 2014 that grabbed a lot of attention, but there was a whole lot more going on at the time. At this point, several hundred devices and smartphones are wireless charger compatible. Chevrolet, Toyota, Nissan, Jeep, and Dodge dropped the new tech into 2014 models. These companies will expand the option across their entire lineup of models, and all other car makers are following suit. Hundreds of development agreements between wireless charging companies and device manufacturers are in place. Haier, the world’s largest manufacturer of appliances, is integrating the tech into its household products, and Foxconn is exploring how it can build the tech into smartphones and devices. The news is even bigger and coming faster and faster this year. The Consumer Electronics Show gave two “Best of CES 2015” awards for Best Innovation (Disruptive Tech) and Best (Connected) Home Product, plus three honorable notices to a wireless charging company. Just yesterday, Ikea announced that it is building wireless charging stations into a new line of furniture. And on the same day, Samsung sprung a big surprise as it unveiled its latest and greatest phones. The new Galaxy S6 has a smaller battery that is permanently sealed in the phone. The reason why? It is fully wireless charger compatible across all formats. And if you had a chance to read my editorial a couple weeks ago and don’t mind a bit of back-patting, this is right in line with my analysis of the battery problems device makers face, and how wireless charging is their best way out. Samsung went all in with its new flagship phone, and it is a definitive sign on where the industry is heading. Continue Reading>>>

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