Intel partners up to bring Rezence wireless charging to the people
TAIPEI — It’s usually regarded as pretty impolite to put your phone on the table when you’re in a fine dining establishment, but what if you were charging your phone rather than just being rude?
That’s the dream behind Intel’s next big push on Rezence, the magnetic resonance wireless charging standard first announced way back at the end of 2013.
At the Computex 2015 trade show, Intel has doubled down on the wireless charging standard, partnering with a variety of companies to bring chargers and other Rezence-driven devices to consumers.
Rezence is supported by the Alliance 4 Wireless Power (A4WP). The A4WP just recently merged with rival wireless charging group Power Matters Alliance (PMA) with the new entity to be renamed later this year. Whatever it ends up being called, it’s certainly going to have some clout in the marketplace, with companies such as AT&T, Broadcom, MediaTek, Powermat Technologies, Procter & Gamble, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics, Starbucks and, of course, Intel all part of the new consortium. This leaves the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) and its Qi standard as the lone rival. At Computex 2015, Intel said that it was interested in”reaching out” to the WPC to see if the two could work toward a single standard.
Unlike some other wireless power solutions, Rezence can charge multiple devices at once and without the need to carefully position the device getting the charge in any particular way. It even works through obstructions as thick as two inches of wood, which is very handy if you’re looking to build in into a table (like the one Intel showed off at Computex last year). This was just one part of Intel’s concept of a truly wireless PC, with no cables or ports required.
Intel announced that it will be working with accessory maker Targus to create charging devices, while Chinese electronics manufacturer Haier will be bringing Rezence to restaurants, hotels, cafes and airports in China later in 2015.
Intel will also work with fellow A4WP members Foxconn and Basecom and manufacturers BYD, Primax and Kokuyo to ensure that more products using the Rezence technology make it to market later this year.
At the Intel Keynote, Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Client Computing Group, demonstrated a self-installed Rezence charging plate from Kokuyo than can be placed under any desk to enable wireless charging.
He also highlighted some usage scenarios, such as a computer bag with a power brick inside that could charge any device that was carried in it automatically. More specifically, at a later Q&A, Skaugen said that early consumer devices would offer 5-watt power and mostly likely be peripherals — phone cases, for example, that would enable magnetic resonance charging. Transmitter devices offering 10-watts of charging power would come later in 2015 and these would enable multiple-device charging.
As Intel’s sixth generation Core processor becomes available, Skaugen says a rise in Rezence peripherals for 2-in-1 devices can be expected — for example keyboards that offered battery power and charged wirelessly. Finally, 20w products that could provide charging solutions for “Ultrabook class products”. Skaugen even said that by mid-2016 he anticipated Rezence to be integrated in notebooks and even in everyday PC peripherals such as keyboards and mice, eliminating the need for replacing batteries.
Skaugen named some of the partners looking to integrate Rezence into their products and services, such as the Hilton and Mariott hotel groups and, more surprisingly, car manufacturers Jaguar and Land Rover building wireless charging options into their cars.
Intel also used the keynote to announce that it will be working to include wireless charging in mobile devices using the Intel Atom x3 processor series.