Intel working on wireless ultrabook-to-mobile charging system


Ultrabooks have become popular lately, trading performance and bargain prices for pure and simple portability as far as laptops go. That has made ultrabooks and mobile devices fairly common and powerful travel setups, which the CEO of the company that owns this site can attest to. Intel has a lot of effort invested in the ultrabook scene, so it comes as no surprise that the company is well aware of this common device matchup. That's why it has just presented a new wireless charging system at IDF in Beijing, a system that uses an ultrabook as the wireless charging station for mobile devices. 

The idea here is to get rid of charging equipment completely as long as you already have an ultrabook and a compatible mobile device with you. Using a BE-BY system (the devices are close, but not touching) you can then just place your device close to the ultrabook and have it charge, either from the battery or while connected to AC. 

The downside is the efficiency of such a BE-BY system, which is said to be as low as 40%. That means that when the system draws 5W from the ultrabook, the mobile device gets about the same as normal 2.5W USB (which has some DC-DC inefficiencies in itself). That also means that if you use your ultrabook's battery for this, it's going to make a noticeable dent in battery life. The Asus Zenbook for instance has a 35Wh battery, so you'd drain the entire battery in about 7 hours with nothing else going on, and since that's roughly the battery life of the ultrabook too, you're essentially cutting it in half if you use the wireless charging off battery while you use the ultrabook. Also, since the charging rate is roughly the same as the USB spec, you can pretty much forget about charging large tablets and the like unless you want to wait a day for it to finish. 

That being said though, this is going to be very useful for when you're connected to AC. Having the device charge a bit here and there when you're using your computer can easily make it so you never have to "intentionally" charge it, and then you have a mobile device that in practice never runs out of power. Then again, you could achive the same thing by simply bringing a USB cable with you and connecting to the notebook that way. 

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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