Components | June 06, 2011

Wireless charging market soars in 2011

Consumers weary of the tangled cords and cumbersome adapters that come with their portable electronics devices are turning to wireless charging devices, which will help revenue from shipments of such products to surge by an astonishing 616% in 2011, states IHS iSuppli.
The wireless charging market is set to soar this year to USD 885.8 million, up more than sevenfold from USD 123.9 million in 2010. The massive upsurge this year of wireless charging will dwarf the market’s 60 percent expansion attained in 2010, the first year of meaningful growth for the space, and also will tower above next year’s sizable 276% increase. Growth then will begin to taper off, slowing to a still-robust 48% in 2015 when revenue hits USD 23.7 billion.

The wireless charging opportunity

The market for wireless charging is divided into three segments: product-specific solutions, aftermarket receivers and aftermarket charging pads or stations.

Of the four current wireless charging technologies in place today, inductive coupling is the most widely adopted. Other wireless charging technologies include conductive, near-field magnetic resistance and far-field magnetic resonance.

Barriers to wide adoption remain

Although wireless charging is poised for major growth in 2011 and beyond, it will take several years for manufacturers to fully implement the technology in their devices, IHS believes. In particular, manufacturers will need to consider how to integrate wireless charging into the design of printed circuit boards, and significant adoption of wireless charging technology will be needed to drive down costs.

One way to spur adoption by the market is for the wireless charging industry to adopt a common standard that would ensure interoperability among the solutions being developed. At present, all commercial solutions are based on proprietary technology, and the skin made by one company, for example, will not work with the charger pad of another firm.

A common goal of the wireless charging industry also is to provide greener, more environmentally friendly solutions. A universal solution not only will fit the power profiles of various devices, the solution itself will be intelligent—shutting down a device automatically after it is fully charged, not wasting power when no transmitters are detected on the surface, and flexible enough to be placed anywhere on a charging pad.

Until the industry finds a standard to follow, the wireless charging industry will be fragmented, IHS maintains, and consumers will hesitate to embrace any solution that might not be promoted in the long term. On the other hand, an open, standardized system will create a healthier competitive environment and prompt manufacturers to join forces—which will enhance consumer awareness and lead to adoption in the markets.
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