(Yicai Global) Oct. 26 -- Apple Inc. [NASDAQ:AAPL] has acquired PowerbyProxi Ltd., a New Zealand-based wireless charging company, the US-based smartphone maker said on Oct. 25 without disclosing the amount spent on the purchase.
PowerbyProxi was founded in 2007. It made a spinoff from a project at Oakland University. The Qi-based wireless charging system it developed has been recognized internationally, and the company has more than 300 industry-related patents.
Apple unveiled its wireless charging program at its fall press briefing in September. The firm's latest handset supports wireless charging, and it plan to release a wireless charging pad, named AirPower, next year. The new product will be able to wirelessly charge three glass-backed Apple devices at the same time.
South Korean smartphone giant Samsung Electronics Co. [KRX:005930] is also developing a wireless charging pad, according to a document on patent applications published on Oct. 20. Samsung's charger will be able to charge smartphones and smart watches simultaneously. The patent describes a device that supports charging in inductive mode and resonant mode, making it suitable for all devices that comply with Qi standards.
Industry attitudes toward applications of wireless charging vary, with many companies taking a wait-and-see attitude to see how the technology performs. However, Apple's continuous push for the technology could see it become more widespread.
If it does go mainstream, one of the first requirements will be producing safe, low-cost goods. The short-range Qi-based electromagnetic induction technology is ready to be used, but whether or not it can extend to medium- and long-distance charging will depend on security technology, Huang Jingzhe, an analyst at the Topology Research Institute, told 21st Century Business Herald.
The efficiency of wireless charging systems isn't yet good enough; so many new mobile phones are not equipped with the technology, Che Xiangguang, general manager of Greater China Products at HMD Global, told 21st Century Business Herald at the recent Nokia 7 release conference.
Huawei Technology Co. brought in wireless charging capabilities a few years ago, but stopped after deciding there wasn't enough market value. At present, the technology cannot bring practical value to users, so it's not suitable for commercial products, said Yu Chengdong, chief executive of Huawei Consumer Business Group.
HIS data shows that the wireless charging market was worth less than USD2 billion in 2015. It forecasts the sector will maintain growth of between 50 and 90 percent before 2018, and by 2019 will be worth USD10 billion worldwide.