Could 4G phones drive wireless charging acceptance in autos?
Margery Conner - March 26, 2012
A survey of 4G smartphone owners indicated that poor battery performance is dragging down the phones in customer satisfaction. It’s not that batteries are more poorly designed compared to previous generations of smartphones, but rather that the phone technology places more demands on battery power: 4G phones having to search for a 4G network to connect to, which is a big drain on battery life, plus, purchasers of the new phones use them more than do purchasers of older technology-based phones.
Vijay Ullal, Group President for Consumer and Automotive Solutions at Maxim, thinks that 4G phones could unwittingly serve as a killer-app for wireless charging technology. Because the phones tend to run low on battery power in the middle of the day, this could make it attractive to simply place the phone on an easy-to-use charging mat, for example, in the car, where attaching to a plug-in charger can be cumbersome. True, tossing a phone onto a charging mat is not significantly different from plugging in a charger, but it has two benefits: It’s slightly easier, and it’s much more technologically advanced/cool, which is a very important factor for early phone tech adopters.
The topic came up when Ullal was addressing the state of wireless charging within the automotive market at a recent US automotive media event at Maxim. He said that automobile companies are currently designing for the 2015 model year, and he has not seen wireless charging mats included in these designs, which bodes ill for wireless charging being massively adopted in the near future, at least by the automotive market. He said that Maxim is following wireless charging closely and is technologically ready to enter the market if end customers require it.
Other companies are continuing to offer products for the wireless charging: Integrated Device Technology recently introduced what it claims is the first true single-chip wireless power transmitter, the IDTP9030, and the highest-output-power single-chip receiver solution, the IDTP9020. The pair meets the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) Qi standard, which ensures interoperability with any other device meeting the standard. Both transmitter and receiver are also capable of supporting proprietary formats for added features, improved safety, and increased power output capability. Built-in protocol detection enables dynamic switching between Qi and proprietary modes.
The IDTP9030 and IDTP9020 are currently sampling, and are available in 48-lead 6 x 6 mm VFQFN (IDTP9030) and 56-lead 7 x 7 mm TQFN (IDTP9020) packages. The IDTP9030 and IDTP9020 are priced at $4.70 and $3.60 each (10,000).