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Wireless charging becoming industry standard

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This year is set to be a revolutionary year for the growth of wireless charging deployment as wireless charging stations become available in more public places as well as in cars and secondary battery packs.

In 1891, renowned inventor and futurist Nikola Tesla became the first person to introduce inductive charging when he successfully demonstrated the wireless transfer of energy. However, it took over a century for this technology to find its way into mainstream consumer use.

“Over the past few years, wireless charging has emerged in the consumer electronics market space, mainly in the form of smartphones and smartphone accessories,” explains Craige Fleischer, Director of Integrated Mobility at Samsung Electronics South Africa. “This technology is now being integrated into a variety of technological devices, appliances, public spaces and even vehicles, as companies look to make power cords obsolete and turn the world into the Tesla-envisioned reality,”

Until now, commercial products have mainly used the “magnetic-inductive” method of charging which involves connecting a device to a physical dock. If you have ever used an electric toothbrush or shaver, then you are probably familiar with this type of inductive charging.

Consumer Benefits and Industry Solutions

A simple wireless charging solution eliminates the need to carry several different chargers for multiple devices. The goal has been to provide consumers with the ability to utilise one wireless charging dock that is compatible with all the devices they already own, as well as all the devices they may buy in the near future.

Fleischer continues, “The industry has been collaborating to establish a series of organisations to standardise wireless charging technologies. Currently there are three such organisations, namely: the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP). Samsung is a member of all of these three groups.”

In January of this year, the PMA and A4WP announced that they would join forces to offer even better wireless charging features for a variety of devices. This means that soon, restaurants, airports, public spaces, vehicles and living spaces of all description will finally unburden consumers of having to remember to carry multiple power cords everywhere. Soon the anxiety of running out of battery power and the hassle of all the charging cables taking up unnecessary space in their bags could be obsolete.

Samsung’s Commitment to a Wireless Future

“In late 2000, Samsung created a task team to exclusively focus on wireless charging and began extensive research and development. Our goal was to develop a technology that was easy to use and convenient for consumers, in order to promote and drive the widespread adoption of wireless technology standards. Several obstacles had to be overcome for wireless charging technology to succeed in the market, most notably the size and price of some of the most crucial components,” Fleischer adds.

“This hard work came to fruition in 2011, when we introduced our first commercial wireless charging pad for Droid Charge (SCH-i510) in the US. Since then, Samsung has provided wireless charging covers and pads as a core accessory alongside many of its flagship smartphones, such as the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 in 2013 and the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4 in 2014.”

A key factor to make wireless charging technology more widely available has been making the production costs more manageable by strategically partnering with the right raw material suppliers and component companies.

Samsung also developed innovative ways to merge and combine components more efficiently, this allowed the technology to generate more power and take up less space. In the early stages of inductive charging, the Galaxy S4 charging pads were comprised of about 80 separate elements. For the Galaxy S5, developers were able to reduce the number drastically, to a much more manageable 50 elements and efforts are being made to decrease this number even further. The company’s unique ability to combine parts that are capable of handling more than one function, has allowed commercialisation to finally become a reality.

Wireless charging has also come a long way in terms of charging speed. Two or three years ago, it was only twenty to thirty percent as efficient as wired charging. But since then, the speed has been doubled.

2015 – A Landmark Year for Smartphone Wireless Charging

Last year, parts that support multiple standards on a single chip were released. Given that it usually takes around 6 to 12 months to integrate new components and put them on the market, it is expected that several of these products will be available to consumers this year.

This comes as the ecosystem for wireless charging continues to rapidly grow and mature. In addition to IT companies, leading brands from a wide range of industries, such as consumer electronics, semi-conductors, mobile services, automotive, furniture, software and others have joined the effort and are working closely together.

Samsung has led the way with wireless charging, showcasing the latest technology with its flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge. “It is expected that 2015 will be a landmark year for the growth of wireless charging deployment, as wireless charging stations will begin to appear in more and more public places as well as in cars and secondary battery packs. Samsung will accelerate its efforts to make wireless charging technology widely available. With the Galaxy S6 smartphones, users will be able to enter a new wireless world like never before,” concludes Fleischer.

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Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com

This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.

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Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.

What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.

However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.

As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.

It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.

The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.

To enter the competition follow the steps below:

Competition entry details:

1. Follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter. (We will ONLY be accepting entires via Twitter, so please don’t enter through the comments section of this article.)

2. Tell us on Twitter, via @GadgetZA, mentioning @Takealot in your posting, how many Watts the Poster Heater consumes.

cleardot.gif3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.

4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.

5. The competition is only open to South African residents.

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Arts and Entertainment

Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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