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Diversification in offing for wireless charging market

Posted: 31 Mar 2016 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Wireless charging market? receivers? smartphones? wearables?

The fast-growing wireless charging receiver market is driving innovation into an industry that grew more than 160 per cent in 2015, with annual global shipments reaching 144 million units. Integrated receivers hit mainstream devices, and refinements to system design and diversification for various applications and power ratings is now driving the development of the technology. Annual shipment volume is expected to top 1 billion units by 2020 and 2 billion by 2025, according to IHS Inc.

The mobile phone market remains the dominant force in overall shipments, led by the Samsung Galaxy smartphone series, which comes equipped with dual-mode Qi and Power-Matters-Alliance- (PMA-) certified low-frequency charging retained for this year's S7 model. IHS forecasts that 10 per cent of smartphones shipped this year will be capable of wireless charging, according to the HIS Wireless Power Receiver Market Report. Meanwhile, wearables are already the second largest wireless-charging device category, driven by Apple Watch, Samsung Gear S2 and other popular products. The first high-frequency magnetic resonant receivers are also expected to launch in laptop computers in 2016, as adoption grows across the gamut of device types.

"Device developments and product launches in 2015 helped increase consumer awareness of wireless charging and consumers who have tried it are strongly positive about the experience," said David Green, research manager for wireless power, IHS Technology. "Once demand is high, manufacturers will find it easier to justify the cost of including it in their devices; however, each application presents its own unique challenges when it comes to cost, form factor and packaging. All wireless charging systems face the challenge of certification, but particularly those with higher power ratings or greater distance from the charger."

Changing phases

While in the past manufacturers had to force the initial adoption of wireless charging onto the industry, that is no longer the case as commoditisation is already starting to occur for these systems in mobile phones. In 2016, there will be a change in phase for the market and the various new technologies availableCmoving from the emerging proof-of-concept phase to a more mature product-diversification phase.

Shipments of wireless charging receivers to date were nearly all 5W Qi- or PMA-certified low-frequency systems that typically rely on a charging pad; however, less than half of all receivers sold in 2020 will fall into this category.

Diversification also exists with the variety of standards available to both manufacturers and consumers, which has slowed adoption in some areas. Even the merging of PMA and the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) to form the AirFuel Alliance last year doesn't yet simplify the standards battle, since the two specifications are not interoperable. The potential adoption of wireless charging by Apple iPhone could also introduce anotheras yet unknownproprietary technology. "Mainstream commercial launches of uncoupled-technology offerings from companies such as Energous, Ossia, Humavox and uBeam would add further diversification to the market, too, although most likely will not occur before 2017 at the earliest," Green said.

Solutions to get application specific

"The wireless charging industry is now focused on building out their product offering to manufacturers in 2016, offering everything from low to high power, low-frequency to high-frequency, and a variety of multi-mode systems that provide interoperability, too," Green said. "It's going to be very application-specific, as to which solutions are chosenCwhether it's medium power and multi-frequency for mobile phones or low-power and single-frequency for wearables."

The IHS Wireless Power Receiver Market Report is based on more than 50 interviews from across the value chain, from semiconductors to manufacturers and infrastructure providers. It provides detailed global analysis of this fast-moving market and explains growth drivers and likely adoption rates in major application sectors. Ten-year unit, revenue and price projections for each application are also provided.

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