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A step toward better wireless charging for electronics

Posting in Technology

It's no overstatement to say that the holy grail of the consumer electronics world is wireless charging.

The technology, which exists today, would free us from our wires for good. After all, if data can be transmitted over the air, why can't electricity, too?

Unfortunately, adoption of the technology has been slow, owing to its many technical limitations. Texas Instruments says its new bq51050B single-chip wireless power receiver has an integrated battery charger and a new "free-position" transmitter integrated circuit that expands the charge area by 400 percent.

That means improved wireless charging for portable devices such as smartphones or wireless keyboards, as well as the use of the technology in more places, such as automotive consoles, charging pads and office furniture.

But don't throw out your coveted (but analog) Aeron chair just yet. TI's new controller improves the charging area from 0.7 inches (or 18 millimeters) to up to 2.7 inches (or 70 millimeters). That's a big improvement, but we're still a long way from charging your phone across the open floor plan of your office.

Photo: Nokia's Lumia 920 smartphone, which has TI wireless charging chips in it. (Nokia)

— By on November 6, 2012, 11:09 PM PST

Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure