Energous, one of the few companies developing long-range wireless charging technologies, announced that it partnered with Pegatron, a major electronics manufacturer from China. The partnership will give Energous the opportunity enable WattUp wireless charging technology for many more devices.
Pegatron has a large and highly diverse electronics product lineup that includes motherboards, desktop PCs, notebooks, broadband, wireless systems, game consoles, networking equipment, set-top boxes, multimedia, LCD TVs, and more. Getting WattUp into all of Pegatron’s new devices could give the technology a fighting chance not only against more established short-range wireless charging technologies such as AirFuel and Qi, but also against more direct competitors such as Cota.
“We are extremely pleased to add Pegatron, a world-class tier-1 OEM/ODM, to our expanding list of WattUp licensees,” said Stephen R. Rizzone, President and CEO of Energous Corporation.
“2016 is shaping up to be a breakout year for Energous as we continue to advance our key strategic partnership, focus on the Mini WattUp transmitter as our quickest path to revenue and ultimately execute on our long-term strategy of delivering wire-free power at a distance. Partnering with top-tier companies like Pegatron is a key part of our strategy to build out our ecosystem and further solidify our market-entry late this year, earlier next year,” he added.
The power is transmitted through radio frequencies between 5.7GHz and 5.8GHz, and it can’t penetrate the human body (which means it’s safe to be around WattUp transmitters). The transmitter creates 3D RF pockets of about four inches in diameter around the devices that it is charging.
Much like Cota, it can deliver power at a distance of multiple feet, but the longer the distance, the more power will be lost. A WattUp transmitter can send up to 16W of power to a device within a five feet range, up to 8W between five and ten feet, and 4W from ten to fifteen feet.
WattUp seems to make a little bit of a compromise on distance (Cota can reach 30 feet), but it can push more power (Cota transmitters can push up to 10W). However, for now Energous is focusing on charging devices that need less than 10W of power, such as smartphones, tablets, wearables, cameras, wireless mice and keyboards, and pretty much anything else that might be battery-powered in your home.
If we're going to have a wire-free future, longer-range wireless charging technologies such as WattUp and Cota may be better suited for that task, as opposed to short-range technologies that require devices to be in more fixed spots in order to be charged wirelessly.
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware. You can follow him at @lucian_armasu.