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LG Intros World's Smallest Wireless Charger

By - Source: LG Email | B 17 comments

This week during World Mobile Congress 2013, LG introduced the "world's smallest" wireless charger, measuring only 6.9-cm in diameter. It's based on the Qi standard and uses electromagnetic induction technology, meaning users will be required to place their mobile device directly on the wireless charger itself in order to replenish the battery.

Called the WCP-300, LG's new charger was built with portability in mind, and offers a charging area 1.7 times wider than that of LG's previous generation wireless charger despite its size. This new model is compatible with a standard 5-pin micro-USB charger, but the LG Spectrum 2 and Nexus 4 (also produced by LG) can use the charger right out of the box.

"Wireless charging is the holy grail of smartphone user convenience," said Dr. Jong-seok Park, President and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. "With the WCP-300, LG was able to deliver both portability with top-class charging capabilities in a device no larger than a typical beverage coaster."

The Qi specification requires that a compatible device charge on a surface area of at least 2.75-inches by 0.79-inches via magnetic induction. This method doesn't require a wired connection, but rather a transmitter coil and a receiver coil to transmit power. A magnetic field that's generated by alternating current in the transmitter actually induces a voltage in the receiver coil.

In contrast, the newer A4WP specification takes a different wireless charging approach by using magnetic resonance to charge a device up to around 1.5-inches away. Thus a tablet or smartphone can be charged when placed next to a laptop sporting resonance charging capabilities without having to be seated directly on a charging platform. LG's new charger doesn't use this method.

"LG believes that built-in support for upcoming smartphones will be the most critical development in making wireless charging the industry standard going forward," the company said. "LG is committed to offering consumers a better mobile user experience by introducing smartphones with more advanced wireless charging technologies in the global market."

The company didn't say when, where or how much this charger will cost consumers, so stay tuned.

 

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  • 4 Hide
    joecole1572 , February 26, 2013 8:10 PM
    I am not a huge fan of wireless chargers. They are just too electrically inefficient to justify the perceived convenience. To me, you save less than a second of time just to waste more energy.

    I dunno, maybe in due time these will get more inefficient.
  • 0 Hide
    joecole1572 , February 26, 2013 8:11 PM
    * meant to say, In due time these will get more efficient
  • 1 Hide
    InvalidError , February 26, 2013 8:41 PM
    Resonance charging is just a special case of induction where the coupled inductors operate at their resonant frequency rather than at whatever frequency the spec says the charger must operate at.

    As far as efficiency goes, there aren't any miracles to be had there. Magnetic fields disperse very badly without magnetic material to keep it focused so the moment you have air or plastic between the transmitter and receiver losses become very significant.

    While I am not much of a fan of wireless charging, it does have the merit of not having to worry about yanking or wearing down a connector when plugging in only for charging, which I have no doubt some people would appreciate.
  • Display all 17 comments.
  • 1 Hide
    halcyon , February 26, 2013 9:41 PM
    Outside of the novelty, I just don't see the big draw to wireless charging when you have to physically place the device on top of the wireless charger anyways. It's novel but not all that useful. Now, if you could be 2-3' away from the charger and charge the device that'd be seemingly useful. ...at least to me.
  • 2 Hide
    back_by_demand , February 26, 2013 10:02 PM
    In 10 years wireless charging will be like home wifi
    ...
    Soon as you walk in the house it starts charging, they will even figure a way to make the charger work on a specific frequency that is like a wifi key, so only your devices can use it
    ...
    Small steps people, let the tech titans fight about the patents and let Tesla's dream come to life
  • 1 Hide
    halcyon , February 26, 2013 10:54 PM
    ^Okay, well, in the meantime, beam me up Scotty beam me up.
  • 1 Hide
    livebriand , February 26, 2013 10:57 PM
    halcyon^Okay, well, in the meantime, beam me up Scotty beam me up.

    Reminds me of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etY7kbRRQ_c

    Sometimes the old way isn't so bad after all.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , February 26, 2013 11:20 PM
    back_by_demand, if its ever like that, its going to be a wildly spinning electricity meter.

    The best it will do is have a pad for multiple devices to charge off without cords. That would require all device makers to agree on a format to charge wirelessly.

    Which is cool, but the idea of scifi wireless electricity is never going to be practical.
  • 0 Hide
    fkr , February 26, 2013 11:58 PM
    I want this for my car to charge my cellphone. I hate the wires. I do not care about the speed of charging I just do not want it to discharge in the car while using gps, streaming music and answering with my bluetooth. incremental charging throughout the day is the way to keep that phone alive.
  • 0 Hide
    srhelicity , February 27, 2013 1:57 AM
    halcyonOutside of the novelty, I just don't see the big draw to wireless charging when you have to physically place the device on top of the wireless charger anyways. It's novel but not all that useful. Now, if you could be 2-3' away from the charger and charge the device that'd be seemingly useful. ...at least to me.


    I have an HTC Droid DNA, which happens to have (rather non-coincidentally, I suspect) a plastic cover/door over the USB charging port. As such, in order to plug in a wired charger, one has to open the door (which sits flush to the bottom of the phone) every single time. This sounds trivial, but when you want to put it on the charger every day (or twice a day), it gets to be a bit of a pain unless you have long fingernails. Now, with my Nokia Qi-compliant charger, I just set my phone down on the charger and don't have to worry about it again.

    It sounds trivial, like I said, but it's actually a nice convenience for me. If I had a phone that didn't have a flap/door over the charging port, then maybe it wouldn't matter as much. Like another poster said, I suspect wireless chargers will be extremely common in 5-10 years assuming efficiency and charging rates can increase. Charger in desks, charger in arm rests, chargers in night-stands, chargers in vehicle consoles, etc.
  • 1 Hide
    InvalidError , February 27, 2013 3:31 AM
    There is no practical and efficient method of sending large amounts of power over more than a few millimeters simply because RF and magnetic fields disperse very quickly without something restricting them.

    You could probably use a beam-forming technique with an antenna or magnet array but then the beam-forming hardware would likely use more power than what gets delivered. You could use a dish with an aiming system that tracks the wireless device you want to charge but that would not be particularly reliable and may be rather noisy. You could also do a room-sized C-shape ferrite transformer but then the amount of power received by devices will at best be equal to the proportion of the room's floor space the devices occupy and the rest is wasted. The Tesla method radiates energy in every direction and the electric field density drops proportionally to the distance squared so most power is already lost by the time you step out of the potentially lethal near-field.

    For people worried about efficiency or unnecessary electromagnetic field exposure, nothing beats good old gold-plated copper on gold-plated copper.
  • -1 Hide
    spat55 , February 27, 2013 4:01 AM
    Is it so hard to just plug the charger in? If I could charge my phone up or whatever it was say 2 meters away then it would be good, otherwise it is a waste of money to research it, maybe they are running out of ideas?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 27, 2013 5:52 AM
    Wireless charging? Just imagine the power density it would require to charge the phone. Its going to be probably several watts per cubical inch. The transmitter should be at least 100 watts, that would be enough to fry an egg. I don't intent on living in a microwave oven.
  • -1 Hide
    halcyon , February 27, 2013 8:04 AM
    srhelicityI have an HTC Droid DNA, which happens to have (rather non-coincidentally, I suspect) a plastic cover/door over the USB charging port.


    I'm sorry that you chose a phone with an impediment to charging. Hopefully, the phone's capabilities made that inconvenience somewhat worth it?
  • 0 Hide
    the_crippler , February 27, 2013 11:59 AM
    spat55Is it so hard to just plug the charger in? If I could charge my phone up or whatever it was say 2 meters away then it would be good, otherwise it is a waste of money to research it, maybe they are running out of ideas?


    I have a TouchPad tablet, and one of the things I like best about it - and am now totally spoiled by - is the wireless charging. Sure, it's not a deal-breaker if a device doesn't have it, but I love being able to just set it down and it starts charging. Nothing to plug in, no cables to mess with - I just walk in the door, set it down and (with the screen-saver) it just becomes a mantel clock.
  • -1 Hide
    back_by_demand , February 27, 2013 3:08 PM
    danielgardiner81back_by_demand, if its ever like that, its going to be a wildly spinning electricity meter.The best it will do is have a pad for multiple devices to charge off without cords. That would require all device makers to agree on a format to charge wirelessly.Which is cool, but the idea of scifi wireless electricity is never going to be practical.

    Yeah, they used to say if you traveled faster than 30mph you would suffocate, the Earth was flat and heavier than air flight was impossible
    ...
    A lot of things that used to be science fiction are being worked on and even though highly experimental you can see Star Trek science actually being done, from data signals sent faster than light, microscopic tractor beams, teleportation of photons, etc
    ...
    OK, we are probably a few centuries away from asking the computer for "Tea, Earl Grey, Hot" but an effective wireless power grid is not limited by technology as Telsa was doing it in the 1800's, it is limited by the companies that run it being able to charge customers (no pun intended) and when they find a way to monetize it then the public will be hit will vast advertising campaigns and we will all start using it
    ...
    As far as being inefficient goes, there are countless examples of convenience trumping efficiency - a good CAT6E wiring network in your house will deliver rock solid internet connection, but people use wifi which in comparative terms crap as it is just easier
  • 0 Hide
    alextheblue , February 28, 2013 4:01 AM
    srhelicityIf I had a phone that didn't have a flap/door over the charging port, then maybe it wouldn't matter as much.
    On the flip side, ports without covers are more prone to getting dust and debris lodged in them, requiring occasional cleaning with some compressed air. I actually miss the cover on my old Samsung, but that might just be because that particular design was easy to manage (even without long nails :p ). In either case, there's a lot of wear and tear on the ports from plugging and unplugging the phone daily. So while Qi isn't all that efficient, it is convenient and helps protect your USB port, which from then on will probably only be used to connect it to a PC for some quick file transfer.