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NFC could offer the next major breakthrough in wireless charging

Wireless charging is a now massive part of the mobile ecosystem and now the folks behind Near Field Communications (NFC) technology are looking to get in on the act.

The NFC Forum has announced wireless charging – albeit exceptionally low-powered wireless charging – is coming to a future version of the standard.

Currently NFC chips within mobile devices and readers are designed to send and receive information, such as contactless payments, between devices.  However, it turns new versions of NFC chips could be used to replenish other devices, such as your true wireless earbuds case.

Unfortunately, the standard will only offer 1W charging (for reference, the lowest-powered iPhone charger is 5W), but that’s a little beside the point.

While the NFC-powered tech probably won’t be useful enough to replenish a smartphone, it might be handy in a pinch if you need to get a little more juice out of your earbuds. In theory, you’ll be able to place the compatible case on the back of the phone to recharge in much the same way as you can via Samsung’s Qi-powered Power Share feature.

Related: What is Samsung’s wireless Power Share

The implementation of the Wireless Charging Technical Specification, as it’s known, will still take some time and require adoption from tech manufacturers in order to come to fruition. The idea is to place the tech required for charging and communication within a single antenna, meaning it won’t take up any more space in the host devices than necessary. Seeing as Qi tech requires quite complex electrical coils, it’s easy to see why this would be attractive, despite the power limitations.

Koichi Tagawa, chair of NFC Forum, said: “The NFC Forum’s Wireless Charging Technical Specification allows for wireless charging of small battery-powered devices like those found in many of the estimated 36 billion IoT devices in use today. NFC wireless charging is truly transformative because it changes the way we design and interact with small, battery-powered devices as the elimination of plugs and cords enables the creation of smaller, hermetically-sealed devices.”

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