IHS says 2015 set to be a breakthrough year for wireless power

March 31, 2015

Global revenues for wireless power receivers and transmitters will grow to more than $1.7 billion this year, according to a new report from IHS. Total wireless power receiver shipments reached 55 million units in 2014, which will grow by 4,000% through 2024 to more than 2 billion units.

Shipments of wireless power receivers in mobile phone handsets alone will exceed 120 million units in 2015, boosted by the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge. Spurred by sales of the Apple Watch, shipments of wireless power receivers for wearable technology are also expected to rise to more than 20 million units in 2015.

“2015 looks to be a breakthrough year for wireless power technology,” said David Green, research manager for power supplies and wireless power at IHS Technology. “Major product launches earlier this year have revealed a clear commitment to wireless charging from leading brands. Firstly, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge smartphones were announced at Mobile World Congress in March, boasting integrated Qi- and PMA- standard tightly coupled inductive charging. Secondly, the Apple Watch was launched later in the month, featuring a proprietary tightly coupled inductive solution.”

According to IHS consumer surveys conducted last year, six out of 10 consumers (63%) still did not know about or understand wireless charging. “Announcements from volume manufacturers will certainly help raise consumer awareness, which in turn can help drive demand; however, the worst-case scenario is not that customers have never heard of wireless charging, but that the only experience they ever had was negative,” Green said.

Stronger focus on interoperability and certification standards

Avoiding negative customer experiences means a stronger focus on interoperability, in particular between the competing certification standards of the Wireless Power Consortium’s (WPC’s) Qi, the Power Matters Alliance (PMA), and the Alliance for Wireless Power’s (A4WP’s) Rezence—even accounting for the merger between the PMA and A4WP that was announced earlier this year. “End users do not care which technology or standard their device uses, they just want it to work well,” Green said. “Magnetic resonance solutions clearly offer advantages in spatial freedom, but delays in getting commercially available products to the market have increased the opportunity for tightly coupled inductive solutions, such as the dual-mode receiver in new Samsung smartphones.”

IHS predicts that shipments of dedicated, tightly coupled solutions will not be overtaken by loosely coupled solutions until 2019, although multimode receivers that support more than one technology are predicted to comprise 30% of the market by 2018. Many semiconductor manufacturers already showcase these types of technology, including tri-modal solutions that support Qi, PMA, and Rezence standards.

In the long term, industry revenue is forecast to increase by nearly $15 billion each year through 2024. “Whether a single, long-term solution will win out still remains to be seen, but it seems that dual mode charging will be the most popular short-term solution,” Green said. “Beyond that, all eyes are on new product announcements this year—potentially including the Intel Rezence solution—as we continue to see the biggest year ever for the wireless power industry.”


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