Time to toss the smartphone charger? LG says its wireless power tops up batteries as fast as wired

LG is building a key piece of technology that could bring to reality the 15-watt Qi wireless charging specification.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

LG says its wireless module can deliver a 50 percent charge to an empty battery in 30 minutes.

Image: David Molina Grande/iStock

LG Innotek says it will start mass-producing a 15W wireless transmission module that will bring wireless-charging performance up to par with today's wired chargers.

The unit of Korean electronics giant LG will begin manufacturing the modules for smartphones and vehicle chargers later this year.

When 15W wireless chargers do hit the market, they will offer a significant boost on today's 5W models and keep wireless in the race as more products support fast charging through USB-C.

For example, one of the standout features of Apple's new USB-C to Lightning Cable is that the fast-charging feature on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro enables it to use the MacBook 12-inch's 29W USB-C Power adapter. That feature will allow for a faster wired charge compared with the 12W adapter that ships with the iPad Pro 12.9 inch.

According to LG, the module is capable of delivering a 50 percent charge to an empty battery within 30 minutes and is three times faster than 5W wireless charging modules.

But as LG notes, there are a few pieces that need to align before 15W wireless charging is a reality, which include the charger pads and a supported receiver that is embedded in smartphones.

Then there are the different wireless charging standards, such as Qi-branded devices and charging pads that comply with the World Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) and AirFuel Alliance, the outcome of last year's merger between Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) and Power Matters Alliance (PMA).

LG says its 15W transmission module follows both groups' standards.

LG says it will interoperate with a 9W receiving module that supports WPC 15W or PMA 5W. It might be referring to NuCurrent's recently unveiled 10W antenna that supported both WPC and AirFuel.

As the company notes, the focus of wireless charging pads has been at the home and office, but it's also eyeing the automotive sector and public spaces.

LG's announcement follows WPC's latest Qi specification from June, which outlined its 15W objective and mission to keep pace with fast-charging wired systems.

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