Long-distance wireless charging firm Energous partners with Apple supplier Dialog

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2016
Energous, a startup specializing in long-distance wireless charging, recently inked a deal to develop and market hardware components through longtime Apple chip supplier Dialog Semiconductor, suggesting a future iPhone might support similar technology.




The partnership, which was officially announced in November, fuels speculation that Energous' WattUp technology, or a derivative of it, will land in iPhone.

"We're actually transferring all of our silicon operations to Dialog," Energous CEO Steve Rizzone said in a statement to Fast Company. "All the Energous technology will be sold under the Dialog branding and all sales orders will be going through Dialog. It'll take us about 90 days to do all that."

Under the deal's terms, Dialog is investing $10 million in Energous to become the firm's exclusive component supplier. For Energous, the partnership grants access to Dialog's sales and distribution channels

It should be noted, however, that Energous itself churned the rumor mill in March 2015, when it revealed a development and licensing agreement with a "tier one" consumer electronics company. Light on details, the company's statement said the deal involves embedding WattUp wire-free charging technology in "various products including, but not limited to mobile consumer electronics and related accessories."

The company later name-checked Apple in a regulatory filing. At the time, Apple was -- and still is -- rumored to be investigating a wireless charging solution for iPhone, one that would rival or surpass technology brought to market by competitor Samsung.

As noted by tech analyst Matt Margolis, who has been following Energous' potential ties to Apple, the long-distance charging solution is in line with Apple's supposed ambitions in the space. A Dialog tie-up throws fuel on the rumor bonfire.

Apple is Dialog's biggest consumer electronics contract, and is believed to account for more than 70 percent of the firm's revenues. Further, Energous in a recent quarterly conference call said "most, if not all, of Energous' early adopters are existing Dialog customers."

Margolis also points to other Apple-related partnerships. In January, Energous signed a "collaboration agreement" with major Apple supplier Foxconn to evaluate WattUp and how it might be deployed in future products.

It seems the circumstantial evidence is mounting, but then again both Foxconn and Dialog serve many masters.





Though Energous has yet to release a shipping product, the WattUp platform has been turning heads at industry trade shows. Instead of using traditional inductive charging coils, WattUp transmits energy through minute antennas formed on the host device's printed circuit board. The process is entirely software controlled, meaning users can prioritize the order in which devices receive power, create charging schedules and more. Earlier this year, the company showcased at CES a USB dongle that sends power to nearby mobile devices.

Apple is clearly in the market for a long-distance wireless charging technology capable of supporting high-energy deployments like iPhone and iPad. Called radiative charging, the technology promises true freedom from cables, but the state of the art is in its infancy. Current iterations suffer from sharp drop-offs in power transfer, meaning charge times are often unstable and inconsistent.

Like other iPhone components, Apple is working on a bespoke solution internally. Perhaps related to those efforts, the company poached a pair of specialists from uBeam, a firm developing technology that uses ultrasonic waves to charge devices from afar.

According to today's report, Rizzone said he expects a shipping version of WattUp to debut in the second quarter of 2017, just in time for a next-generation iPhone.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,142member
    Wait for it .... but ... but ... Tesla invented this ...  It will kill people with pace makers ....  It's science fiction ....
  • Reply 2 of 8
    Dont u just love when wild speculations are presented along real news? They instantly feel like a real news too, but they are just a varriation of a fake news.
    mattinozSpamSandwich
  • Reply 3 of 8
    I sure hope Apple is doing more testing of this technology than all the gung-ho purveyors of it.  I'm talking about potential health effects here!  In order to charge at a distance, the transmitter had to put out a signal many times stronger than WiFi - do. you really want to have your head near your phone (as in while you sleep) while that phone is receiving the charging signal?  I sure as he11 don't.  And for what?  Just to save that 0.2sec it takes to plug in a lightning cable?

    I'm not some tin-hat dude scared of tech - like most people I'm joined at the hip with my smartphone and watch - they both lie on the nightstand next to me each night.  So i'm probably already getting a bit more EMF than is wise.  But we're talking about 10-100+ times more.
    yojimbo007
  • Reply 4 of 8
    levilevi Posts: 344member
    Matt Margolis for a long time claimed that Apple would release an iPhone with sapphire display, and a bull for said underlying stock - the name of the vendor escapes me now. Anyways he was an advocate for the stock weeks after the iPhone 6 release which by his claims was supposed include sapphire. Long story short that company went bankrupt shortly thereafter, costing investors $.90 on the dollar. My point is, be skeptical. His track record is suspect.
    mattinoz
  • Reply 5 of 8
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,016member
    tjwolf said:
    I sure hope Apple is doing more testing of this technology than all the gung-ho purveyors of it.  I'm talking about potential health effects here!  In order to charge at a distance, the transmitter had to put out a signal many times stronger than WiFi - do. you really want to have your head near your phone (as in while you sleep) while that phone is receiving the charging signal?  I sure as he11 don't.  And for what?  Just to save that 0.2sec it takes to plug in a lightning cable?

    I'm not some tin-hat dude scared of tech - like most people I'm joined at the hip with my smartphone and watch - they both lie on the nightstand next to me each night.  So i'm probably already getting a bit more EMF than is wise.  But we're talking about 10-100+ times more.
    On the flip side in order to charge effectively the receiver has to catch as much of that signal as possible and do it all with out causing excessive interference to the pure data signals the phone needs to keep up with it job.

    I would think with distance charging you could have the charger elsewhere in your daily life, like at work so phone can stay in one place while you are moving around and away from the signal. Then phone/watch can be in low power low signal mode while your asleep. 
  • Reply 6 of 8
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,399member
    mattinoz said:
    tjwolf said:
    I sure hope Apple is doing more testing of this technology than all the gung-ho purveyors of it.  I'm talking about potential health effects here!  In order to charge at a distance, the transmitter had to put out a signal many times stronger than WiFi - do. you really want to have your head near your phone (as in while you sleep) while that phone is receiving the charging signal?  I sure as he11 don't.  And for what?  Just to save that 0.2sec it takes to plug in a lightning cable?

    I'm not some tin-hat dude scared of tech - like most people I'm joined at the hip with my smartphone and watch - they both lie on the nightstand next to me each night.  So i'm probably already getting a bit more EMF than is wise.  But we're talking about 10-100+ times more.
    On the flip side in order to charge effectively the receiver has to catch as much of that signal as possible and do it all with out causing excessive interference to the pure data signals the phone needs to keep up with it job.

    I would think with distance charging you could have the charger elsewhere in your daily life, like at work so phone can stay in one place while you are moving around and away from the signal. Then phone/watch can be in low power low signal mode while your asleep. 
    I also think you'd have charging nodes scattered throughout any space where you commonly use the phone. Likewise for airports, coffee houses, and any place they want to offer recharging stations, which eliminates the need to maintain physical connections.

  • Reply 7 of 8
    mattinoz said:
    tjwolf said:
    I sure hope Apple is doing more testing of this technology than all the gung-ho purveyors of it.  I'm talking about potential health effects here!  In order to charge at a distance, the transmitter had to put out a signal many times stronger than WiFi - do. you really want to have your head near your phone (as in while you sleep) while that phone is receiving the charging signal?  I sure as he11 don't.  And for what?  Just to save that 0.2sec it takes to plug in a lightning cable?

    I'm not some tin-hat dude scared of tech - like most people I'm joined at the hip with my smartphone and watch - they both lie on the nightstand next to me each night.  So i'm probably already getting a bit more EMF than is wise.  But we're talking about 10-100+ times more.
    On the flip side in order to charge effectively the receiver has to catch as much of that signal as possible and do it all with out causing excessive interference to the pure data signals the phone needs to keep up with it job.

    I would think with distance charging you could have the charger elsewhere in your daily life, like at work so phone can stay in one place while you are moving around and away from the signal. Then phone/watch can be in low power low signal mode while your asleep. 
    Being able to power all those wearables without all of them needing a battery would be a great boon. The watch seems well suited to that. People could effectively get their week long use for the watch. Even better, the power source not needing to be on the wearable means you could use solar on yourself to power to low power devices.

    I imagine back packing with a solar panel on my back and charging say the watch all day long, essentially meaning it would probably not die ever even if your using 24h a day unless leaving the GPS on at all time.

    Inside the house, all those IOT things that need substantial batteries could have just very small ones (or even none, directly powered from the wireless energy). From an esthetics point of view, ranged wireless charging is advantageous.
  • Reply 8 of 8
    1st1st Posts: 311member
    cool.  nice technology to get rid of wall hugger.  better get full charge and stop until the battery depleted near end prior to second charge... otherwise, the battery memory effect is going to kill the number of charge/discharge cycle it design intended to... nice. 
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