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Wireless routers vs. wireless charging

I recently made a snarky tweet about wireless charging:

If you're going to advertise "wireless charging," shouldn't you really offer wireless charging, not "wires to another device charging?"

I've had a few responses along the lines of "well, wireless networking still needs wires, and nobody complains about that!" While this is true, there's a key difference at work here.

With wireless networking, the location of the wireless gear (and its associated cords) is irrelevant, once setup is done. I can put the router in a closet, under a desk, in the basement, basically anywhere there's a power outlet and where the router will be able to send a strong signal. Once I've done that, I can completely forget about where I set up the wireless networking gear. I can sit anywhere in our home, open my laptop, and bingo, instant networking. No visible cords involved; it's truly wireless networking.

With wireless charging, the wireless charger needs to be set up where you can get to it, obviously. This means you need to find a spot that not only has power, but where you can see and get to the charging base, and hopefully hide the power cord so it's not in the way. When considered at the usage level, wireless charging equates to "place phone on device that's connected to a power cord," and wired charging is "connect device to power cord." That doesn't seem like much progress to me.

What's even more annoying is that you'd probably want more than one of these wireless charging stations in your home: one downstairs, one in the computer room, perhaps another in the bedroom. Imagine if wireless networking were like this—I think adoption rates would have suffered if you'd needed a router in every room where you wanted to network without wires.

Imagine true wireless charging (ignoring the question of whether or not it's even technically possible). Connect your wireless charging station to a power outlet, somewhere in your home. Turn it on, and then any time a device is in the charging station's range, it gets charged over the air. Now that's something I would buy, in a heartbeat.

But something that needs to be plugged in, that needs to be reachable, that needs to be replicated for use in multiple locations, all to save me the hassle of plugging a cord into the phone itself? Not all that interesting to me.

3 Comments

  1. What you describe of is impossible though. You simply can't get around the inverse squared law, so it's not feasible to charge something wirelessly more than a meter or so away (even then not really feasible).

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