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New TI Qi chip may see wireless charging on tiny devices

updated 06:25 pm EDT, Mon April 18, 2011

Ti unveils ultra-small Qi wireless power chips

Texas Instruments started the week by promising a very small wireless power chip, the bq51013, that could lead to the technology spreading to other devices. Its design measures just 0.12 inches at its longest point, 80 percent less than TI's previous version, but can still provide the 5W of inductive power needed for smartphones, MP3 players, and most other mobile devices. It backs the official Qi power standard and should work with any charger that supports the standard.

The design is 93 percent efficient at peak and should charge as quickly as if the host device were plugged into AC power.

Hardware creators can immediately start buying the bq51013 and would pay a relatively minor premium for the wireless power option at $3.50 in batches of 1,000. No customers have been named so far.

Wireless charging has found its way into a handful of devices built-in but has had relatively few large-scale buyers. Palm was one of the first to embrace it with an optional back for the Pre and, under HP, will expand through native support for devices like the TouchPad. It may get a larger boost with the imminent launch of the HTC Droid Incredible 2 on Verizon, where a chance exists that wireless power will be standard.

Until now, however, wireless charging has mostly been off-limits to thinner or overall smaller devices. The new TI chip could result in more phones and other handhelds that charge wirelessly without having to make conspicuous design sacrifices.

by MacNN Staff



  1. bjojade

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Please Apple!!!

    Put this in your devices. Wireless charging would be awesome. One of the most common points of failure is the charging connector on small devices. If the connector is used less, it'll last longer. And I'd love my desk to just become a charging pad where anything on the desk just charges. Less wires would be SWEET.

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I have yet to experience a charging connector failure on any of my small devices. I would still have to carry my charging cable for when I'm not around a charging pad. It seems like a minor thing considering what it could do to the form factor.
    While $3.50 doesn't sound like much, I vaguely recall an uproar over Apple's $1.00 per firewire port licensing fee, way back when.

    I'm not saying they shouldn't do it, just that it seems like less of an issue to me, than the exclamation points in your comment indicate it is to you.

  1. facebook_Matt

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Apr 2011


    It's about time...

    It's not like the technology is 112 years old or anything (Tesla!).

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