Freescale drives wireless recharge with reference designs

June 01, 2012 //By R. Colin Johnson
Wireless inductive battery rechargers already cut the cable to many devices such as electric toothbrushes, but because there were no standards in place until recently, they still require a proprietary recharge station.

Now that the Wireless Power Consortium has over 100 members for its Qi standard, analysts predict the time is ripe for a global wireless charging market, which is expected to exceed 100 million units annually by 2015, according to IMS Research (Austin, Texas).

Japan's Docomo has already been test marketing Qi-compatible recharge stations in public places to support its deployment of power hungry LTE smartphones, and even automobile makers are getting on-board, with Dodge promising a Qi-compatible smartphone recharger built into its console. These and dozens of other commercial Qi-compatible rollouts promised over the next three years.

For original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who want to quickly enter Qi-compatible wireless recharging station market, Freescale Semiconductor has crafted three reference designs enabling any tablet, smartphone or other mobile devices to be wirelessly recharged.

"We have reference designs for smartphones that can supply up to five watts, for tablets that supply up to 30 watts and for power tools, kitchen appliances, medical devices and even laptops that can supply over 100 watts in wireless recharge power," said Ron Lowman, industrial and multi-market marketing manager at Freescale.

Freescale recently began a partnership with Fulton Innovation (Ada, Mich.), which has over 186 granted patents and 496 pending in the wireless recharge area. By including the latest innovations in its reference designs, OEMs can achieve efficiencies of over 80 percent, support multiple coils so that devices do not have to be perfectly placed, and take advantage of safety features that keep foreign objects from heating up, all of which are built into Freescale's reference designs.