Dialog backs Energous for free space wireless charging
Energous is the developer of WattUp, a new wireless charging technology that provides over-the-air power at a distance. Alongside the $10m investment in Energous, Dialog will be the exclusive component supplier of the WattUp chips while Energous use Dialog’s sales and distribution channels.
WattUp uses RF frquencies to send power in a similar way to a Wi-Fi router and technology from startup Radient Micro-tech, and is a director of the AirFuel Alliance, which competes with the WirelessPower Consortium (WPC) that develops the Qi technology. The company raised $20m earlier this year.
Like Radient, WattUp differs from inductive or resonant wireless charging systems in that it delivers power at a distance, to multiple devices, in any orientation, resulting in wire-free charging. It uses Dialog’s SmartBond Bluetooth low energy solution as the out-of-band communications channel between the wireless transmitter and receiver and Dialog’s power management technology is then used to distribute power from the WattUp receiver IC to the rest of the device while Dialog’s AC/DC Rapid Charge power conversion technology delivers power to the wireless transmitter.
WattUp uses small form factor antennas that are formed using the existing device’s printed circuit board, removing the need for larger, more expensive coils used in competing solutions today. This enables broader adoption of wireless charging in a larger range of battery-powered devices, such as smartphones, tablets, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, small form factor wearables, and Virtual Reality (VR)/Augmented Reality (AR) devices. Energous hopes to tap Dialog’s existing cutomers to grow the business.
“This partnership brings two very complementary companies closer together, creating numerous benefits,” said Stephen Rizzone, President and CEO of Energous. “Energous is pleased to be able to leverage Dialog’s decades of experience in power-saving technologies as well as its robust sales channel, long term strategic relationships and world-class fab and backend operations. Working together, we will be able to accelerate the adoption of the WattUp technology and reshape the way electronic devices are charged. Partnering with a top tier semiconductor company like Dialog also represents a strong validation for Energous as we prepare to launch WattUp-enabled consumer products with our licensees in early 2017.”
“Energous’ WattUp technology can be thought of as wireless charging 2.0, and delivers a wireless charging experience that is much closer to what consumers desire by charging devices close up and at a distance, while in use and without compromising product design or adding excessive cost,” said Mark Tyndall, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Strategy at Dialog Semiconductor. “This alliance means that Dialog is able to more closely align our complementary technologies, supply chain and global sales resources to accelerate the deployment of Energous’ WattUp wireless transmitter and receiver technology while expanding our innovative use cases and market share.”
The strategic investment includes joint marketing and sales operations, including access to Dialog’s channel partners and access to Dialog’s customer base to accelerate the adoption of WattUp in smartphone, automotive and emerging IoT applications.