USB Power Delivery – The Future of Fast Charging is Here January 8, 2018

Discussions keep popping up about all the different breeds of chargers in the mobile tech ecosystem: USB 3.0, Micro USB, USB-C, Qualcomm® Quick Charge™, wireless chargers. That said, USB-PD, one of the more recent entries, seems to be the cream rising to the top, and for good reason.

USB-PD medium

USB Power Delivery is a charging technology that uses USB-C cables and connectors to deliver higher levels of power to your devices. There are four huge benefits to USB-PD:

  1. It charges way fast, capable of powering a device up to 70% faster than standard charging.
  2. It tears down the walls of limited charger capability, and the same USB-PD charger can efficiently power everything from a headset to a smartphone to a powerful laptop– up to 100W!– negotiating just the right amount of voltage and current required for optimal charging. This eliminates the need for a separate power brick for each unit, not to mention clutter, e-waste and outlet shortage.
  3. USB-PD is a single charging standard that’s compatible with any device and works seamlessly with other USB formats. That’s a welcome change in a world where each new smartphone brings with it a new charger. It’s a valuable future-proof option to have. In stark contrast, the closest competitor, Quick Charge™ 3.0, can muster up to 60W and is only compatible with a handful of devices. USB-PD, as stated, works with all.
  4. With the USB-PD standard, power flows in both directions, so it’s possible to share power between both host and peripheral devices. For example, plugging into the USB-C port of both devices, you could charge your friend’s phone with your own. And, as it needs no proprietary gear to deliver a charge, you can even plug your big ol’ backup HDD– which normally needs an external power source– directly into your laptop with only one cable, and get an even faster DTR (data transfer rate).

 

In the coming years, expect to see USB-PD’s presence in cables, adapters and chargers expand aggressively, and most flagship devices (like the iPhone X) based around the rapid-charging and data-transfer capabilities that USB-PD offers. In short, it’s the future of power.

Hypercel is also embarking on a new line of Naztech USB Power Delivery products which should be available for order March 2018. Visit www.natztech.com for updates.

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Qi Wireless Charging: What You Should Know December 27, 2017

Qi with iphone

Wireless charging is one of the hottest technology trends in 2017, which only promises to explode epidemically in 2018 with the advent of tons of new products featuring wireless capability. So, it probably bears some discussion as to what that all means, and does it have any influence on your future purchases.

If it isn’t already clear, wireless charging (or inductive charging) is a high-tech feature that allows your mobile device to charge without plugging in a cable. Or for the inner nerd, it’s when an alternating current in the charger’s transmitter coil generates a magnetic field which converts into electricity in the mobile device’s receiver coil when it rests upon the charger. This voltage can then be used to power the mobile device’s battery.

Although a number of different wireless charging technologies have jockeyed for top position, the Qi (pronounced “chee”– from the Chinese word meaning “vital energy”) format has become the accepted standard for wireless charging– especially since Apple opted to make their iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X all Qi-ready (after all, when Apple speaks…). This is great news, actually, because it means customers can purchase a third-party charger for their Qi-ready phone instead of a costly proprietary one, should they so choose.

An issue that can arise with other wireless charging systems is when a foreign metallic object is placed on or near the charger. If this occurs, the charger might generate currents that flow in the object, depending on its magnetic nature, and the object gets hot. To prevent this, the Qi system is engineered to sense the presence of metal objects and immediately cut the charge, ensuring that only proper Qi-ready mobile devices are coupled and receive energy. This is called Foreign Object Detection (FOD), a feature that all Qi-standard chargers have.

The benefits of Qi-ready, as opposed to the old-school wired format, are convincing enough to comfortably go that route when shopping for your next phone:

  1. Qi is already the most widely adopted global wireless standard and has been embraced by hundreds of leading manufacturers– and that number’s only growing.
  2. No plugging and unplugging power cords. The frustration of multiple, sometimes incompatible charging cables is now a non-issue. Qi has literally cut the cord for mobile devices.
  3. It’s a fully-matured, proven standard–not just a promise for the future or a test market.
  4. The Qi has a home where the buffalo roam: The technology’s widespread adoption includes many locations where charging is most needed, including airports, restaurants, gyms, hotels and offices. Wireless chargers are already at hundreds of Starbucks locations across the U.S
  5. Over 50 of the top-selling, new smartphones are Qi-ready, including Apple, Android, Blackberry devices, so chances are good the one you’re eyeing is ready to rock.

 

Caveat emptor, baby. Some manufacturers use misleading verbiage to hide the fact that their products are not Qi-certified. Beware of phrases like “Qi-compatible,” “Qi-compliant,” “Qi-approved,” “Qi-friendly” or “works with Qi.” It’s impossible to know how compatible those suckers really are on face value. Thankfully, the Wireless Power Consortium has assembled a Qi Certified Product Database that lists all officially tested and approved Qi-enabled products. Also, only Qi-certified products will have the official “QI” logo as seen below.

Qi logo 2

If you do finally get  locked and loaded with a Qi setup, then you should immediately download the Aircharge locator app, a wireless charging guide with over 4,800 Qi hotspots This app is available for iOS, Android and Windows Mobile.

Amazing things are happening in mobile technology and Qi wireless charging is an exciting next step. It’s the perfect time to start researching for your next device and enjoying the freedom that only wireless gives.

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