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LG Intros World's Smallest Wireless Charger

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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  • joecole1572
    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.
    Reply
  • joecole1572
    * meant to say, In due time these will get more efficient
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    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.
    Reply
  • halcyon
    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.
    Reply
  • back_by_demand
    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
    Reply
  • halcyon
    ^Okay, well, in the meantime, beam me up Scotty beam me up.
    Reply
  • livebriand
    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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • fkr
    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.
    Reply
  • srhelicity
    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.
    Reply