Wireless charging is great, but the large coils that are required for the Qi standard can take up a lot of space inside smaller electronics and increase costs. That's why products like smartwatches, fitness bands, wireless earbuds, and so on typically only support wired charging. However, there might be a new easier way to include wireless charging on low-power devices: NFC.
Yes, you read that right, the same technology you already use for mobile payments is now technically capable of transmitting (and receiving) power. The NFC Forum recently approved a new Wireless Charging Specification for powering "small, battery-powered consumer and IoT devices." The new standard doesn't require an additional antenna for power transfer, which could keep costs down.
There is one major catch: the standard can only transfer up to 1W, a far cry from the 30W+ that is possible with proprietary Qi-based solutions:
The WLC specification ensures a safe charging process between two NFC-enabled devices in either static or negotiated modes. Static mode uses standard radio frequency (RF) field strength and provides a consistent power level. Negotiated mode uses a higher RF field supporting four power transfer classes of 250, 500, 750 and 1000 milliwatts.
That probably means you won't be charging your Galaxy S21 over NFC, but we might see a trickle of wireless headphones and other small electronics with NFC charging over the next few years.
- NFC Forum