Wireless charging is no longer the stuff of the future; it's a widely used method of juicing up your smartphone. All you need is a charging mat underneath your handset. Granted, it's not available for all smartphones; for instance, you won't find it on iPhones. However, there are some big names that are worth checking out. Here are a few of our top picks.
What You Need to Know About Wireless Charging
In the realm of wireless charging, there are two companies vying for supremacy.
Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) backs the Qi (pronounced "chee") standard, which is currently used in most Android devices that can wirelessly charge on the market. The technology works by taking advantage of magnetic induction, allowing power to be transferred from a mat to a phone's battery. Qi, which in Chinese means "air" or "spiritual energy flow," was established in 2008 and deals with 206 companies, including Microsoft, Samsung and Sony. All of the phones on this list use Qi technology, but that might change soon.
Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) just merged in January 2015 to compete against Qi directly. The PMA standard also works by magnetic induction. In June 2014, PMA partnered with Duracell to place charging pads in select Starbucks in San Francisco, with the idea to expand to other cities in 2015. With the addition of charging pads at popular destinations, it's possible that more phones will start to incorporate both technologies, just as Samsung did with the Galaxy S6.
If your smartphone Android phone doesn't have the ability to wirelessly charge yet, you can get the Universal Qi Wireless Charging Receiver Film (opens in new tab) from Amazon for $13.99. Although it's not very sexy-looking, this film attaches to the back of your Android device, which can then be placed on any Qi-enabled charging pad to power up. There is even a $29.99 receiver film (opens in new tab) available for the iPhone 6/5S/5 for Apple, which hasn't joined the wireless charging party yet.
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