The dream of truly wireless charging has been around for some time now. Companies such as Energous release fresh concepts and information every now and then, while Xiaomi touted its Mi Air Charge tech earlier this year. Turns out, however, the first consumer product to support the tech may come from Motorola.
The company has announced that it is partnering with GuRu, one of the companies working on truly wireless charging, to bring the tech to future Motorola smartphones. The joint press release, unfortunately, doesn’t note when the tech might become available — so it could still be a matter of years before it’s consumer-ready. Under Lenovo, Motorola has carved a niche for itself in the competitive Android market by mostly making no-frills devices like Moto One 5G Ace and Moto G Sylus
“At Motorola, we are constantly working to bring innovations to the market that can improve our consumers’ lives. With this solution we will provide a glimpse of the freedom and flexibility that users can enjoy with a revolutionary over-the-air, wireless power technology,” said Dan Dery, VP of Product at Motorola. “With GuRu, we imagine a new generation of wirelessly powered devices.”
GuRu says that its RF Lensing tech is able to power devices from up to 30 feet away, using a propriety millimeter wave technology. This can be used to charge devices with batteries, like a smartphone, but eventually, it could also be used to power devices that don’t have or need batteries like, for example, a TV. It will likely be years before the tech can work like that, though, given the greater power demands of a TV compared to a battery-powered device that really only uses a lot of energy when it’s on.
To actually use the tech, you’ll need to install small base stations in the rooms that you want to wirelessly charge in. In GuRu’s concept, these base stations will be built into things like light fixtures, meaning they’ll blend into their environment. It remains to be seen how that will impact upgradeability — it’s a lot easier to replace a wireless charging pad today than it would be to replace a light fixture.
Several different companies and startups have been trying to make remote wireless charging a reality since 2015, with little to show for those efforts outside of some fancy prototypes. That makes Motorola’s partnership with Guru something of a moonshot, but then it’s no stranger to trying out new ideas and seeing what sticks. After all, this is the company that gave us Moto Mods and a foldable display Razr, nor is this Motorola’s first foray into the technology.
At the start of the year, it showed off a demo of a device reportedly called the Motorola One Hyper charging two Moto Edge phones remotely — though it’s not clear if it worked with Guru on that project. It also isn’t alone in trying to integrate the technology into its devices. This year, Xiaomi showed off its Mi Air Charge Technology, claiming it could one day remotely charge multiple devices simultaneously. Of course, it’s important to not overreact to announcements like this. As mentioned, companies have been working on this kind of tech for years, but it still has yet to really become part of the consumer tech landscape.