Aug 27 2010

Wireless Charging: A Whole New Market

The average consumer uses a variety of electronic devices daily – cell phones, laptops, MP3 players, headsets, etc. – all of which require different chargers for keeping gadgets at full battery. In a market driven by mobility and convenience, charging solutions have failed to evolve with the rest of the industry. Not surprisingly, consumers have become annoyed with all these different, often proprietary, cords and connectors. According to recent surveys by In-Stat, approximately 44 percent of respondents found that “current mobile charging solutions are an annoyance,” and “up to 40 percent are willing to pay $50 more for a wireless charging solution.”

This is creating a new market opportunity for wireless charging systems. According to a recent study by In-Stat, the market for wireless charging systems will reach $4.3 billion in total revenue by 2010. These products can charge mobile devices, from phones to PCs to handsets, simply by having the devices touching or within the proximity of a charging station. These charging solutions can often be hidden, or at least seamlessly integrated, into furniture or automobiles; more than two thirds of the integrated charging solutions are expected to be in cars.

“Despite the long history of the various technologies, we are really just now beginning to see the true market potential for wireless charging solutions,” says Jim McGregor, In-Stat’s chief technology strategist. “Like many other technology markets, it will start with add-on and third-party solutions. Eventually solutions will be integrated into many mobile electronics as the costs decrease and the demand increases. While still a fraction of the overall mobile device segment, wireless charging is just beginning to hit its stride in the market.”

As with all technologies designed to service a variety of devices from different vendors, interoperability will be a primary challenge for product designers. Wireless products also face the added difficulty of avoiding interference with other wireless devices. Allion Test Labs will continue to track this industry trend and provide insight for manufacturers.

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