Xiaomi, Chinese tech giants have a dream, to build a world where everything in the room is truly wireless. Where electronic devices no longer need a power cable at all. Just a picture of such a room gives me goosebumps. Is this even possible? if so, how soon can we expect it?
Just three days ago, Xiaomi introduced the Mi Air charge technology, through a video ad and an official blog post. A system that is capable of charging multiple devices wirelessly, from a distance, such that you’ll never have to plug it into anything again. This is a really big step towards realizing their dream.
In an official tweet, Xiaomi writes; “We’re excited to bring you the remote charging technology – Mi Air Charge Technology! Charge multiple devices simultaneously while you’re gaming, walking around or even when something’s in the way, no strings attached. Another giant leap forward in wireless charging technology!”
Back to my initial question, “is it possible to build a perfect wireless charging system for all electronic devices?” First, we’ll see a few reasons why Xiaomi could actually get this done. Then, we’ll turn the table to see why it might just be another dream.
Xiaomi will put us in a truly wireless room as they promise, here’s why
- Xiaomi has the money and other resources it takes
Xiaomi is the world’s 4th most valuable technology start-up, valued at more than US$46 billion. It’s hard to say how much they have and are willing to invest into this technology, but it sure as hell has to be huge.
“Xiaomi is one of the few companies in the world with the scale and the money, to do this.” Arun Maini. So the fact that it’s Xiaomi making this promise and taking on the challenge, definitely means that it’s happening, and we can’t wait to see it.
2. It’s not just Xiaomi that has taken on the Challenge
Since Xiaomi introduced the Mi Air Wireless charging system, other tech companies have shown a real interest in the technology. For example, Motorola has already released a video demo of its approach to wireless-air charging.
Read more about that intro in this blog post from GSM Arena: Motorola also demonstrates its own long-distance wireless charging
The fact that other companies such as Motorola have announced that they’re working on this technology implies that if one fails, the other might succeed. What we really want, is for our rooms to truly wireless, however and from whomever, it comes.
3. Wireless charging technology isn’t new
That’s right, wireless charging technology isn’t really new, it’s been around for a couple of years now, though it really became consumer-ready, only recently. Samsung has supported wireless charging since the Galaxy S6 and Huawei introduced it with the excellent Mate 20 Pro.
Apple adopted wireless charging from the iPhone X and iPhone 8 and has taken that up to the 11 Pro as well as iPhone XR. You an Apple fan? check out Wireless charging explained: Power your iPhone or Android phone wire-free.
The main wireless standard today is Qi (pronounced “chee”), developed by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) for inductive charging over distances of up to 40mm. If you’re not a techie, do bother much about this.
Major Smartphone manufacturers including Samsung, Apple, Sony, LG, HTC, Huawei, etc. have adopted the Qi wireless charging standard. I hear it’s being incorporated inside numerous vehicles now too. More about this technology in this article: “What Does the Future of Wireless Charging Technology Look Like?“.
The above four paragraphs are simply evidence of the commonality of wireless charging technology, which is not only limited to mobile devices (smartphones), but is incorporated into other electronic devices, including; laptops wearables, kitchen appliances, and even electric vehicles.
4. Xiaomi’s Mi Air charge tech has nothing to do with Current Qi standard for wireless tech
The current technology standards for wireless charging require the presence of a physical device (e.g. the Qi-certified chargers), that sometimes still has to be cable connected to the power supply.
The challenge is to develop a technology that is truly wireless, allowing devices to really be charged at a significant distance. This is what Xiaomi’s new Mi Air Charge technology brings to the table. Xiaomi’s promise technology should bring a new smell to wireless tech. It is completely free of wires.
The Mi Air Charge tech has nothing to do with the Qi tech, which means it has a unique approach. According to that official blog post, charging takes place without any possible interference from objects in between the base station (transmitter) and the device itself.
This, Mi Air Charge tech is supposed to work on the same principle as the 5G technology. Yet, the 5G tech is still somewhat vulnerable to interference from objects. Xiaomi has clearly found a way around this, making it even more unique and powerful.
Reasons why Xiaomi’s technology might simply remain a dream
Despite the beauty and promising nature of Xiaomi’s technology, there’s still a bunch of reasons why it just might stay a dream, never seeing the light of the day.
- Mi Air Charge tech is not market ready
The Chinese electronics company introduced the Mi Air Charge technology through an official blog post, whose headline reads; “FORGET ABOUT CABLES AND CHARGING STANDS WITH REVOLUTIONARY MI AIR CHARGE TECHNOLOGY.”
They’re not saying you should throw away your old chargers and rush to their stores, NO. What they’re actually saying is; “We’re working on it”, as the famous Youtuber Arun Maini would put it.
A lot of people were anxious to rush to markets to purchase this product, that this became the most common question on the matter; “what’s the price?” Well, maybe your children will have the luck of taking it for granted.
2. Most previous attempts to wireless Air charging have failed.
Many other previous attempts to this sort of technology, wireless air charging have failed. This is simply because, wireless air charging is difficult. Devices such as the Motherbox -wireless charger of 2017, Wi-Charge and Energous are all attempts to air charging, that never came alive.
All these previous technologies seemed promising, but all they gave were false hopes, each of them failing for very perculiar reasons. Even the great Nikola Tesla had such a dream, to be able to send an electric current through the air, from one location to another.
Centuries ago, the legendary inventor envisioned a world where energy could be transmitted to wherever it was needed without the use of wires, just as Xiaomi today. Yet Tesla’s dream is yet to come true, and this leaves some doubts to Xiaomi’s possible success.
3. The Xiaomi Air Charge tech isn’t even compatible with your current devices
Here’s how this tech works in simple terms; there a base station, which acts as a transmitter that automatically locates and supplies several devices simultaneously. Your device will require two things, in-built;
- A Beacon antenna, which tells the base station where to find your device, and
- The receiving antenna array composed of 14 antennas, which convert signals emitted by the charging pile into electric energy through a certain “rectifier circuit.”
Now if you read that carefully, you will definitely realize that this technology will never work with your current device. Apparently, no existing electronic device really is compatible, apart from Xiaomi’s.
So they’re promising a world where everything in the room is truly wireless, but they’re counting on a technology that will not work with any of the currently existing devices. What a promise!
4. 5W supply, that’s the definition of inefficiency
With the Mi Air Charge tech, the power limit is kept at 5W per device. Most recent devices (mobile phones particularly), including Xiaomi’s own products, require up to 120W of power supply. We can quickly understand the level of inefficiency of this technology, this far. Charging your device with this tech, is going to feel like clearing a farm with a blunt cutlass.
Xiaomi is promises us a world where wires will no longer exist for charging, our rooms will be truly wireless. They’ve even asked us to forget about cables and charging stands. Xiaomi has introduced the Mi Air Charge technology, which they say is going to help them meet this promise.
We’ve seen four reasons why this technology is so promising, and could eventually come into action on a market scale.Yet, we’ve also seen four reasons why this technology might not succeed, leaving Xiaomi’s dream as just a ‘dream.’
What’s your opinion about this? Do you believe that Xiaomi is capable of putting us in a truly wireless room? Tell us all about it in the comment section. Do not forget to share this article with your friends and community. Also give us a like; scroll to the buttom of this page.