Xiaomi (prematurely) announces futuristic Air Charge remote wireless charging technology
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Xiaomi has made a splash by announcing (prematurely it seems) its new Mi Air Charge technology. The potential breakthrough in charging introduces a remote wireless charging with a several meter radius of 5 W. Multiple devices can also be charged at the same time and also at 5 W with physical objects providing no barrier. Xiaomi explains how it all works in a new blog:
The core technology of Xiaomi’s remote charging lies in space positioning and energy transmission. Xiaomi’s self-developed isolated charging pile has five phase interference antennas built in, which can accurately detect the location of the smartphone. A phase control array composed of 144 antennas transmits millimeter-wide waves directly to the phone through beamforming.
On the smartphone side, Xiaomi has also developed a miniaturized antenna array with built-in “beacon antenna” and “receiving antenna array”. Beacon antenna broadcasts position information with low power consumption. The receiving antenna array composed of 14 antennas converts the millimeter wave signal emitted by the charging pile into electric energy through the rectifier circuit, to turn the sci-fi charging experience into reality.
The later statement about “reality” isn’t especially accurate, however, even if the technology does work in a lab. A Xiaomi rep told The Verge that it will not be releasing a device compatible with Mi Air Charge this year, and also couldn’t confirm when the first device and base station will actually ship. In the industry, this is what is known as “vaporware,” which makes it difficuly to understand Xiaomi’s motives in making the announcement so far ahead of an actual launch. There is ultimately zero kudos for announcing a new technology first without being the first to actuallyl ship the technology. Especially when Apple, for one, started investigating this technology as far back as 2011 and could still beat Xiaomi to market.