April launch in EU, US; worldwide rollout shortly thereafter
Global home furnishings retailer Ikea today announced a product launch of powered bedside tables, lamps, and desks that implement a wireless charging standard. Ikea has adopted the Qi standard, and will sell cases in-store that use the standard for phones that do not have the technology integrated, like the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S5.
McDonalds adds Qi wireless charging hotspots to 50 restaurants
McDonalds is bringing wireless charging to some of its restaurants in the United Kingdom. Working with Aircharge, a total of 600 Qi charging hotspots will be fitted in 50 stores, mostly in London, with the hotspots themselves said to be water-resistant units capable of surviving the occasional soft drink spillage. The expansion follows an initial test, and reports that customers waited for up to 30 minutes to use the chargers at one restaurant.
WW2 combat simulation Combat Mision: Red Thunder released
Battlefront.com has released a major new title in its series of tactical WW2 combat simulations, entitled Combat Mission: Red Thunder. Set during 1944, when Operation Bagration took the Soviet forces from the swamps of Belarus to the gates of Warsaw, players can play out historical battles and campaigns or create customized quick battles. Combat Mission: Red Thunder is a standalone game, and features new game engine features such as backpack and vehicle flamethrowers, tank riders, hit decals, and more. The game is available for download for OS X (as well as Windows), priced at $55.
Google's Nexus devices get wireless charging accessory
Owners of Google's Nexus 4, and Nexus 5 smartphones and the Nexus 7 tablet can now get a specialized wireless charging device. The device appeared Tuesday in Google's Play Store, and it ships in 1 to 2 business days. The device provides wireless charging for each of the Nexus devices, though it only has room to charge one device at a time.
A4WP gets big boost with Intel joining the collective
The Alliance for Wireless Power may have received a big boost in the format wars for what is thought to be the next step in powering devices. Chipmaker Intel has joined A4WP with a seat on the alliance's board of directors, meaning the collective now has several of the largest processor makers on board. In addition to Intel, A4WP counts more than 40 other firms among its members, including Samsung, Qualcomm, and Broadcom.
Samsung releases wireless charging pad, battery cover for Galaxy S4
Samsung has put a wireless charging system for the Galaxy S4 up for sale. The wireless charging pad and separate battery cover, costing $50 and $40 respectively, both use the same Qi charging system that's available for the Nokia Lumia 920. This allows the Galaxy S4 equipped with the cover to be charged on any other Qi-standard charging base, as well as Samsung's own.
Lumias to have branded charging station, Qi compatibility
Shortly after rumors emerged that Nokia's forthcoming Lumia devices would feature Qi wireless charging compatibility, new images have shown up online that appear to show off the power station for the new devices. The pictures were leaked in a tweet from @evleaks, and they appear to show the charging stations on which the new Lumias are meant to rest.
Inductive charging now effective up to 40mm away
Inductive wireless charging may have taken another step toward wider adoption today, with an announcement from the Wireless Power Consortium. The group announced an update of the Qi wireless charging standard, allowing for charging from up to 40mm away. The updated standard greatly exceeds previous limitations, which capped charging distance at 5mm between device and charging platform.
Panasonic QE-QL301 to power iPads and more
Panasonic took an unusual step into mobile accessories Monday through the unveiling of a new external battery pack. The flagship QE-QL301 can share its maximum 10,260mAh of power between two USB devices at once. At four times the power of even a well-equipped smartphone, it has both the power to give meaningful extra battery life to two devices, including to tablets like the iPad.
LG shows off WCD-800 wireless phone charger
LG introduced a wireless charging pad for its smartphones, the WCD-800, at Mobile World Congress. It can charge phones placed within its grasp horizontally or vertically, so users can navigate the menus, watch videos, or hold conversations using the speakerphone. All of the company's phones unveiled at MWC, such as the Optimus 4X HD, will be compatible with the charger, as well as those from third parties that use the Qi standard.
Sony developing smart outlets that ID users
Sony is working on power outlets that could restrict flow of energy based on who plugs in, The Verge has learned. Sony would apply its NFC-based FeliCa payment tech and use it to determine identities and permissions, with applications likely to include selling power in public areas, preventing theft, and in large corporate buildings for employees. Each outlet would be equipped with an IC chip that could be made to read information from a similar chip built into the plug or a portable device with an NFC chip.
iPhone 6 charging plans teased in updated rumor
An update to an earlier iPhone 5 leak has given what could be even more ambitious plans for the sixth-generation model. Experiments for the 2012 version of the phone would have it use a "new way" to charge the phone. The WSJ source didn't say what it would entail, but it would most likely be inductive, wireless charging akin to HP's webOS devices.
Sharp Aquos SH-13C first with Qi wireless charger
The biggest Japanese wireless provider, NTT DoCoMo, on Monday announced the upcoming release of a number of new handsets, including the Sharp Aquos Phone f SH-13C. Chief among the phone's features is its out-of-the-box Qi wireless charger and pod, a first of its kind for smartphones. Users just need to place the phone onto a pod or any other Qi charger for cable-free power.
Ti unveils ultra-small Qi wireless power chips
Texas Instruments started the week by promising a very small wireless power chip, the bq51013, that could lead to the technology spreading to other devices. Its design measures just 0.12 inches at its longest point, 80 percent less than TI's previous version, but can still provide the 5W of inductive power needed for smartphones, MP3 players, and most other mobile devices. It backs the official Qi power standard and should work with any charger that supports the standard.
We review Energizer's Qi wireless power pad
Inductive charging is theoretically the holy grail for convenience, and the young-in-the-tooth Qi standard promises to make it relevant for nearly any low-power gadget. With that in mind, Energizer is stepping up with the Inductive Charging Pad, a plate that can potentially power anything while going wire-free. We'll find out in our full review if it's the breakthrough it's meant to be or if there's still some big caveats at hand.
Fulton Qi power tech hands-on at CTIA
Fulton Innovation had a surprisingly deep presence at the just-wrapping CTIA show this week and showed off some new technology using the universal Qi wireless power standard. This included not just LG's new wireless charging station but a rumored similar back for the Thunderbolt. Read on for a first-hand look as well as a check on Fulton's unique light-up, Qi-powered product boxes.
Energizer shows single-zone Qi handset chargers
Energizer detailed plans to soon release a universal single-zone charger based on the Wireless Power Consortium's Qi standard. This will include a single-zone inductive charger that can work with the company's recent iPhone 4 sleeve. A Qi adapter will attach to most phones through mini or micro USB to make it compatible with the Qi standard.
Energize Inductive Charger ready for Apple and RIM
As promised, Energizer today rolled out the Inductive Charger. The plate uses the Qi standard to charge the BlackBerry Curve 8900 and the iPhone 3G/3GS without wires. Both smartphones need a special add-on, either a battery door for the Curve or a full case for the iPhone, but never need to switch back; the iPhone case appears to block the Dock Connector, however.
Qi wireless power now ready for BBerry and iPhone
The Wireless Power Consortium said that its Qi format was ready to be built into hardware. Following earlier approval, Energizer is developing a wire-free charging sleeve for the iPhone 3G and 3GS as well as for the older BlackBerry Curve 8900. Polished versions of either are due in the fall.
WPC greenlights wireless power for phones and more
The Wireless Power Consortium in a low-key move has approved the Qi standard for charging devices over the air. Hardware producers can now design devices to use the technology and expect them to work with other Qi equipment. Those in the alliance didn't say when they expected the first devices to reach shops.
Wireless Power Consortium gets RIM, Energizer
The Wireless Power Consortium on Thursday announced it has added BlackBerry maker RIM and battery maker Energizer, furthering the organization's mission of developing a wireless charging standard it is calling Qi. There are now 21 members in the Consortium, and the opportunity was also taken to announce the second round of prototype testing has been successfully completed.