El Segundo, Calif. - Global shipments of electronics products with wireless charging capability will soar in the coming years, according to a new iSuppli report.
The research company forecasts the market to explode by a factor of 65 in four years, from 3.6 million units in 2010 to 234.9 million units in 2014.
The figure represents worldwide shipments of product-specific wireless charging solutions -- systems that consist of a charger as well as a "skin" or receiver sold for specific devices. These product-specific devices contrast with aftermarket solutions, which comprise universal chargers and various skins that can be utilized with multiple CE devices.
Growth is also projected for aftermarket wireless charging, with revenue rising at a massive five-year compound annual growth rate of 133.4 percent.
The company believes it will take several years for manufacturers to fully implement wireless charging in their devices. In particular, manufacturers will need to consider how to integrate wireless charging into the design of printed circuit boards, and significant adoption of wireless charging technology will be needed to drive down costs.
One way to spur adoption by the market is for the wireless charging industry to adopt a common standard that would ensure interoperability among the solutions being developed. At present, all commercial solutions are based on proprietary technology, and the skin made by one company, for example, will not work with the charger pad of another.
"Until the industry finds a standard to follow, the wireless charging industry will be fragmented, and consumers will hesitate to adopt any solution that could be compromised by the rival companies," Tina Teng, senior analyst for wireless research at iSuppli, said. "However, an open, standardized system will create a healthier competitive environment and prompt manufacturers to join forces -- which will enhance consumer awareness and lead to adoption in the markets."
Of the four current wireless charging technologies in place today, magnetic inductive coupling is the most widely adopted, according to iSuppli. The technology enjoys wide support from semiconductor vendors, device manufacturers, accessories makers as well as retailers. The most successful proponent of magnetic induction is Powermat, a Michigan-based company founded in 2009 that owned 62 percent share of the wireless charging market in 2009 -- the largest slice in the industry.
Other wireless charging technologies include conductive, developed by the company WildCharge and currently licensed to Procter and Gamble's Duracell; near-field magnetic resistance, championed by wireless telecom giant Qualcomm as well as Intel; and far-field magnetic resonance, a technology that has raised safety as well as health concerns and for which no commercial products are available for the time being.
While most companies are thought not to be ready with any commercial products until sometime this year, several high-profile manufacturers are examining the feasibility of producing wireless charging solutions. The companies include Texas Instruments and ST-Ericsson on the semiconductor side; Nokia and Research In Motion from the device manufacturer side; and Logitech International and Case-Mate from the accessories manufacturer side.
Teng's report, Wireless Charging Eliminates Tangled Cords, is available