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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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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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