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Thread: Where are the wireless laptops?

  1. #1

    Where are the wireless laptops?

    2017 was the year Apple finally got on board with induction charging on the iPhone. Yey! Now we can all look forward to a future where we don't have to worry about fiddling around for that wire in the dark; we can just put the phone down on the charging pad where it belongs.
    But while we might be moving towards a wireless future with our smartphones, I want to know why we aren't seeing wireless laptops out there.


    Unless you exclusively use your laptop on your lap (what a crazy idea), it's likely that, most of the time, you're using it on a desk. Or, if not, you're leaving it on your desk overnight. That's kinda the perfect place to stick an induction charging pad. They could easily be built into tables in your local coffee house, giving your main work device a little bit of a boost while you work.
    Now, nobody is asking for good oldfashioned USB-C charging to go away already. Having the option to stick in a wire for when you need a faster charge will always be welcome. But why not have the 'top-up' option of induction charging as well? Maybe have a few receivers spread out across the laptop body so you don't have to worry about exactly aligning the charging field - but having the ability to charge your laptop just by leaving it on your desk overnight and the reassurance that there will always be a bit of charge left in the thing, it's got to be better than wired charging alone, hasn't it?

  2. #2
    Yup, been waiting for this for years. Considered that Dell briefly.
    Apple should do this since nobody else will. But they don’t even have wireless charging on their tablets so they probably won’t.

  3. #3
    kinda want it to go mainstream so wireless charging points in cafes and libraries become standard. It’s going to take a big hitter like Apple to make that happen – and even then, they’ll need to include it across their entire range for it to take off. Niche products just aren’t going to create enough waves.

  4. #4
    Couple reasons it hasn’t been pushed forward yet. One is the problem of metal, if you have a metal body then it won’t charge wirelessly period. Yes you can mix in plastic or glass panels, but then there’s a level of smoothness lost in the design. Another is transmission loss. At a phone level, 5 watts is easy enough to deliver over induction (up to 10 watts with Qi), but a laptop typically needs 40-100 watts (never mind gaming laptops needing much more than 100 even). 40 could be feasible, but with a large contact area. So as a result, you have to have these big pads to wirelessly recharge (100 watts would probably be infeasible for induction). That would limit its appeal for mobility, you won’t really carry around a pad to charge if it’s larger than the laptop. And then, exactly like with Qi, we won’t see it just provided free of charge in public places either, at least not until there are a lot of people demanding it, and people won’t demand it until they can use it, chicken and egg and all that. In addition, the cost for the pad will be high, figure around $100-200, public places won’t feel like paying that much just for the slightest bit of convenience for their customers to not have to plug in (in addition to few customers having the technology in the first place).
    And not to mention, many people plug stuff into their laptops anyway. With Thunderbolt 3 you might just plug one cable and be done with it anyway. But if you have wireless recharging and you still plug in Thunderbolt 3 (or USB) then what’s the point? You could’ve went with a dock that charges your laptop anyway. And the companion to this tech was supposed to be WiGig, which seems to have died, but WiGig would have allowed wireless docking.
    Interesting though that WiGig and wireless charging would be quite compelling together but both haven’t gone anywhere, and I don’t see the point of one without the other (WiGig without charging would just be a nuisance once your battery gets low and you need to plug in anyway, and wireless charging without WiGig would leave you disconnected from your peripherals, unless again you just plug in but you could have plugged in and charged with one cable).
    This is not to take away from this idea though, I’d love to see this, I actually do recall that there was one Dell, can’t remember which one, but it had a wireless charging (induction) dock, but that was probably cancelled at some point since I haven’t heard about it. Also Intel calls their tech Rezence and it was supposed to offer laptop recharging but for some reason Rezence has basically not materialized, similar for WiGig, Intel actually demoed the two together in one prototype.

  5. #5
    Another problem with inductive (aka wireless) charging at these effect levels apart from energy loss is that you will begin to see some quite significant magnetic forces at work between the charger and the laptop. Enough to lift the laptop and make it vibrate.
    You will also generate a lot more heat. Thats where the lost energy goes.

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