Wireless charging is compelling, but right now we’re mostly limited to rather bulky cases and charging pads that sit on our desks. It’s going to be a lot more valuable when it’s pre-built into our coffee tables and desks, for example, or into our cars. The latter, of which GM is hoping will be a reality by next year. The company is reportedly working on building inductive wireless charging technology into its next generation auto-mobiles.
On paper, that means we might be able to drop a phone or tablet on our dashboard to charge it. Or leave it in our cup-holder so we don’t lose juice while we’re driving down the road. GM already invests in Powermat, which uses a standard from the Power Matters Alliance. However, plenty of smartphones and tablets, ranging from the new Nexus 7 to the LG Optimus G Pro and Galaxy S4 (with a special battery cover) use Qi wireless charging, which was developed by the Wireless Power Consortium. A4WP, the Alliance for Wireless Power, is another competing standard that is trying to offer similar technologies to auto-makers.
Consumers won’t really benefit until the industry picks a standard, unfortunately. You might own a device that uses one charging standard and buy a car that works with another. Sure, there will be case adapters that can help alleviate this problem, but then what’s the point of building thin phones with the technology built-in? At least there’s some focus on bringing wireless charging to the masses, for now.