This morning, we heard some news that would be exciting. if true — that Belkin is working on what could be the first consumer device with Really wireless charging, the kind that actually emits a small amount of energy through the air and into a room.
That’s what Wi-Charge founder and business director Ori Mor said TechCrunch this morning, even going so far as to claim that Belkin would launch a specific “core consumer product” with the technology later this year.
But Belkin now denies much of that report, saying the edge that not only is there no product today, but the two companies have not even moved to the product concept phase yet.
Belkin spokeswoman Jen Wei confirmed that Wi-Charge and Belkin make have a partnership to explore some product concepts, but that “the TechCrunch History has taken liberties for sure about what we can promise at this point.”
“Currently, our agreement with Wi-Charge only commits us to R&D on a few product concepts, so it’s too early to comment on the timing of viable consumer products,” Wei writes.
Interestingly, Wi-Charge doesn’t defend its founders’ statements one way or the other: when contacted, spokesperson Merrill Freund didn’t even confirm or deny whether its founder was telling the truth on that. TechCrunch interview a few hours ago. “We do not comment on Belkin beyond what is in the statement,” he wrote, adding that Wi-Charge intends to launch two wireless charging products “on our own.”
It’s unclear if Mor was lying or just spoke without Belkin’s permission and is now shutting up. But it is quite clear that she was not mistaken: TechCrunch has quote after quote from Mor insisting that Belkin has at least one product on the way.
Either way, if Belkin hasn’t moved into the product concept phase yet, it seems unlikely that a safe product will come out this year, especially in the midst of the pandemic when many companies are having a hard time shipping products around the world. .
However, Belkin seemed excited about the potential of a Wi-Charge partnership in a press release this morning:
“In keeping with our ongoing commitment to providing the best charging experience for our customers, we are excited to unlock the full potential of Wi-Charge’s unparalleled over-the-air wireless charging technology,” said Brian Van Harlingen, CTO of Belkin. “The future of charging has been transitioning from wired to wireless for years and we anticipate that wireless over-the-air charging will accelerate this evolution.”
If a Belkin product doesn’t materialize, it would be far from the first false start to truly wireless power transfer. We’ve been following technology on and off for over a decade, watching companies as energetic Y uBeam make promises and demonstrations and go nowhere fast. More recently, Chinese phone manufacturers, including Xiaomi, Oppo and Motorola, have announced versions of the technology, but neither offered release dates last time we checked. There is no doubt that the technology works on a basic level; the demos are convincingbut the companies have not yet stuck the landing.
The earlier “Oh, we’re actually getting a real product” moment was also from Wi-Charge, when it announced that the technology would appear. in lock alfred ML2 at CES 2020. But we see no evidence that the lock went on sale nearly two years later, and the only mention on the company’s website is buried in a centerfold.
By the way, Wi-Charge’s technology isn’t the kind that would charge a laptop or phone, either: it only puts out 1 watt of infrared light, which is barely enough to charge a pair of wireless earbuds and their charging case. Still, it could keep low-drain devices powered continuously, saving batteries, and transmit power up to 40 feet away, according to the company.