I like the idea of wireless charging. The feature has been around for a long time now, but because of its mixed treatment.

Something that should be more significant than it is often treated as an unimportant matter by some of the world's biggest manufacturers. Wireless charging is not as widely used as it should be.

You won't find a lot of public places with wireless charging available. I used to think of that world in the early days of wireless charging, but I'm still waiting for it to happen.

The grand plan

Google Pixel 6 Pro on a wireless charger

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

My first recollection of wireless charging was with the launch of theNokia Lumia 920. The inclusion of wireless charging on the device helped popularize the feature, and it trickled to more and more phones.


I thought the idea of a charging pad on top of a speaker was cool at the time.

There were two main standards back then. Many of the best phones on the market today are powered by the latter.

There are as many as one billion wireless charging-enabled phones. Nearly a third of global smartphone sales are made up of wireless charging.

It is expected to increase to as much as 2.2 billion by the end of the decade. The market for wireless earbuds is expected to grow as the technology becomes more popular, with the market worth more than $17 billion in 2021. At least for now, wireless charging in public spaces is a rarity.

Insights on wireless charging

(Image credit: Strategy Analytics via Wireless Power Consortium)

In the near future, I imagined that I would be able to walk into a coffee shop, library, or even a movie theater and set my phone on a charging spot and have it charged in no time. It would be great if you could grab a charge while you sat down to watch a movie.

That's the kind of convenience I always hoped for, and it's one I haven't seen beyond car manufacturers.

Wireless charging ain't cheap

Pixel Stand (2nd Gen)

(Image credit: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

It is possible to find public spaces with wireless charging, but it is hard to find many. There are a few reasons why wireless charging doesn't seem to have taken off the way I wanted it to.

Cost is the first thing. According to Next Move Strategy consulting, "expensive infrastructure required for the integration of wireless charging is expected to hamper the market growth throughout the forecast period." It's important for companies to justify the cost of adding wireless charging to their setup, whether that's buying new furniture or adding wireless charging to their setup.

In my interview with Jitesh Ubrani, the Research Manager for Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers, he stressed the importance of justifying the feature for a subset of devices.

It's cheaper to have a regular outlet that can serve multiple purposes than it is to have a dedicated wireless charging point. "Though the cost of wireless charging has come down, it's still more than a regular outlet and regular furniture."

Many consumers don't know whether or not their phones support the feature, and there is a lack of education about it. When they realize that their phones may not support wireless charging, or when they realize that their phones may not charge as fast as they would like, they may be disappointed.

It seems that the confusion is caused by the mixed treatment of wireless charging by the smartphone manufacturers. Wireless charging speeds have been pushed by some companies from China.

50W fast wireless charging is faster than most phones can charge even when plugged in. You'll need the Pixel Stand (2nd Gen) to get faster speeds, but the Pixel 6 series can charge a bit faster.

OnePlus 10 Pro photos

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

Apple and SAMSUNG limit their wireless charging speeds to 15W at most. Other companies design their own proprietary systems, while these companies stick to more standard methods.

I wondered if government intervention would be needed to boost wireless charging innovation around a single charging standard after the EU decided to make the standard charging cable for phones and other devices. There aren't enough phones to justify any action.

The government wouldn't act on the mass market because the feature is only included in premium products. Having separate standards works in their favor as they can use it as a point of differentiating and boosting accessory sales.

The act of charging without wires is also possible. Because of the nature of the technology and the fact that you have to line up the charging coil just right, you can't use your phone comfortably while it's charging wireless. In a society that can't ever put phones down for an extended period of time, that could make wireless charging inconvenient.

Where we're going

Motorola over the air charging

(Image credit: Motorola)

There are a lot of convenient use cases for wireless charging. You don't have to worry about finding or fussing with wires if you set your phone down on a pad while you're sleeping or working.

If we have access to wireless charging in more public spaces, we won't have to deal with incompatible charging cables, find outlets, or misplace our own chargers.

A few companies are trying to address the issue of lack of user experience. You won't need to physically place your phone on a wireless charging pad if you use remote over-the-aircharging.

These devices use a series of antennas that beamform waves to a device, and then charge it from a certain distance. There is a limited distance the stations can cover, and they can only charge up to 5W, which is lower than many of our favorite wireless charging stations. Companies are trying to improve the tech to make it more reliable and quicker.

It has a long way to go and will face more challenges than standard wireless charging. Over-air charging is still years away from being safe, perceived as safe, as well as being affordable, so I don't think it's going to be the saving grace.

On its FAQ page, the Wireless Power Consortium agrees with Ubrani about over-the-air charging.

Far-field techniques have a number of cost, efficiency, and safety issues that have limited commercial applications. Consumer electronics have shown that near-field wireless charging is better for them.

Apple has a solution that is slowly making it's way to the phones of other operating systems. MagSafe is a form of wireless charging that allows you to charge your phone while you use it by attaching it to the back of your compatible phone. You can charge your phone on the go with MagSafe compatible power banks.

It would be cool to see this feature on more phones, but RealMe and OPPO are the only companies that have their own solutions.

But until then...

How to use Wireless PowerShare on the Galaxy S20

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

There is still plenty of time for the wireless charging market to take off, according to reports. It's a useful feature that should be taken advantage of, even though it's been slow on the rise.

With the lack of 3.5mm headphone jacks on newer phones, wireless charging car mounts can be useful for anyone that would prefer to use theirusb-c port to jack into their car forandroid auto There's nothing wrong with having a few pads around the house, next to the bedside table, on the kitchen counter, or even on a coffee table.

You can pick up work desks with built-in wireless charging. It all comes down to costs for both companies and consumers.

With many topANDROID phones shipping without charging in the box, chances are consumers will choose to purchase a wall accessory over a wireless one, the latter of which would often cost more.

Even if a new wall accessory isn't necessary, consumers have to decide if it's worth it to buy a wireless accessory.

If wireless charging costs more than regular chargers and increases the costs of devices, it won't be broadly adopted since it's still a nice-to-have feature.