Qi wireless charging devices are about to get range, allowing for a separation of 45 millimeters between your smartphone and its chargers. I admit, 45 mms is hardly considered long distance, but in the world of wireless smartphone charging that 1.77 inches is the difference between installing a charging station inside or below a desk, table or counter, rather than on top of it.
It also means that devices we want to charge no longer have to have direct contact with their chargers, which makes whole new types of power stations available. The range of the current Qi standard is 7 mm, or a quarter of an inch.
The Wireless Power Consortium this week announced the new resonant capabilities as part of the version 1.2 update to the Qi standard. Only new smartphones, tablet and gadgets with an updated Qi chip will be able to take advantage of the full 45-mm range, but if own one of the many current generation Qi phones, you’ll still be put about an inch (30 mms) of distance between it and version charger.
Qi is starting to graduate from home charging pads and retail tabletops to the automobile. Toyota, Jeep, Audi and Mercedes-Benz have all announced plans to incorporate Qi charging surfaces into their vehicles, and earlier this week, GM revealed the 2015 Cadillac ATS will roll off assembly lines with a wireless charging compartment that supports both Qi and rival standard Powermat technologies.
The WPC is also looking into larger gadgets, such as powerful 2000-Watt transmitters that could charge countertop kitchen appliances.