New standard could enable laptops to charge via smart tables, or to charge other devices with built-in circuits

While it might be pricey, using a large inductive or resonant desktop charger as a base for a laptop would arguably be one of the best applications of wireless technology.
Unlike a smartphone where when you lay it down to charge generally you have to stop using it, a laptop inductive or resonant charger would allow you to continue to work in a normal fashion.  And many users are already comfortable with the idea, given the popularity of laptop bases with extra storage and/or traditional charging capabilities.  Last, but not least, a unified wireless or wired standard was desperately need giving the horrible mess of proprietary laptop charger designs.
Yet Dell's announcement that it is "the first major PC original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to join a wireless power standards organization" suggests it's taken almost half a decade since the first mass market inductive chargers were introduced for PC makers to even begin to adopt the technology.

Dell 6430u
It's somewhat surprising that Hewlett-Packard Comp. (HPQ) isn't the first to be pioneering the wireless technology in laptops.  After all, it purchased Palm, which pioneered the technology in the smartphone market, releasing the highest profile wireless charger to date back in 2009.  But it appears that like the rest of Palm's business, Palm's wireless charging legacy at HP remains fairly dead.
With wireless charging nearing ubiquity in high-end smartphones, at last another PC OEM has stepped up to the plate.  Dell is joining the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), which maintains the Rezence charging specification.  As the name implies, the standard operates on magnetic resonance charging, the first kind of resonant charging to be ready for commercialization.  Rezence is backed by Witricity, a familiar name in smartphone wireless charging.

Rezence Power

A4WP's other semiconductor/circuit technology partners include:
  • Broadcom Corp. (BRCM)
  • Gill Electronics (a Grand Rapids, Mich. based firm)
  • Integrated Device Technlogy (IDT) Inc. (IDTI)
  • Intel Corp. (INTC)
  • Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM)
  • Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KRX:005930) (KRX:005935)
  • SEMCO Energy, Inc.
In addition to Samsung -- who doubles as a mobile OEM -- other device or peripheral OEMs onboard the project include: The A4WP spec already has multi-device charging support, and leverages the Bluetooth Smart wireless charging standard, which is backed by Apple, Inc. (AAPL) and others.  To kick off Dell's ultrabook wireless charging push, A4WP is introducing a new higher power charging spec that can offer between 20 and 50 watts to devices.

Rezence wireless charging

Glen Robson, the chief technology officer and vice president at Dell, says his firm is eager to offer up wireless-charging laptops.  He states:

The development of magnetic resonance technology will improve the customer experience when it comes to wireless charging and bring the capability into more homes and businesses over the next few years.  We are excited to work with other industry leaders in the A4WP to deliver on the promise of easy, flexible wireless charging across an array of mobile devices including smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Dell's decision to step up to the plate is drawing praise from its partners.  Sanjay Vora, a strategic planning general manager with Intel's PC Client Group cheers:

The A4WP continues to make progress on its mission to cut the power cord for all mobile devices.  Extending the Rezence specification to include higher-power, more capable devices like Ultrabooks and 2 in 1’s is a necessary evolution that will help to accelerate charging station installations and bring a truly enjoyable ‘No Wires’ user experience to more users.  We are excited to have Dell joining the Alliance and help expand the specification.

Devices supporting the new standard are expected to arrive within the next couple years.  Among the novel kinds of chargers that are under discussion are "smart furniture", such as charging tables or nightstands.  Intel and IDT have also proposed putting secondary charges into your laptop to allow it to charge your smartphone or tablet when not in use.

Source: Rezence

"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

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