Upcoming Wireless Charger ‘Doesn’t Need Pad’

Genuinely wireless charging could be on the way according to one manufacturer that says its tweaked Qi charging. It would mean an end to having to line up devices on a ‘wireless’ pad.

The Pi charger, expected to ship next year for under $200, can reportedly charge up to four or five devices at once. It’s a conical unit that can charge devices within a one-foot range, regardless of how they are placed.

One downside is that to start with at least, those devices will need a dedicated case. The makers say future handsets won’t need a case, though it’s not clear whether manufacturers would need to take specific action to allow that.

Another limitation is that the device will only charge at the maximum rate if it’s right by the Pi charger, with the rate decreasing as it gets further away.

The underlying charging technology is the same resonant induction used in the more familiar Qi charging format. The difference according to the makers is that Pi doesn’t rely on the device being placed on a pad to make for an easy connection. It instead uses an algorithm to find the specific location of the charging device and connect to it with a focused magnetic beam.

One thing that’s not clear is whether it’s possible to use a device while charging, or if it needs to be kept in a static location to maintain efficient charging.

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