Wireless charging doesn’t facilitate as much freedom as the name implies — although it technically allows a device to be charged without plugging in a cable, that’s about it. True wireless charging isn’t that far off, however, as today Ossia announced a partnership with Archos to release the first gadgets that can be charged over the air using true wireless charging technology, and they’ll be here next year.
Way back at CES 2016, our minds were blown by Ossia’s first demonstrations of the company’s Cota Real Wireless Power technology. To most of us, wireless charging means plopping a smartphone, wireless earbuds, or a smartwatch down on a small pad to charge them. It’s more convenient than wrangling a cable, but it still means these devices have to be essentially abandoned for a few hours to be completely recharged.
True wireless power, which is what Ossia’s Cota promises, allows a device to start charging once it’s in the proximity of a wireless power transmitter. You could walk into a room with one of the transmitter’s installed (they can be disguised behind ceiling tiles or hidden behind furniture) and your smartphone would immediately just start charging all on its own, whether you’re actively using it, or it’s buried in a pocket or a bag.
You can find a more detailed explanation of how the Cota wireless power technology works here, but one of the biggest challenges with bringing it to consumers is that devices require a special RF receiving chip to access the wireless power broadcasts. Until other companies agree to include the Cota chip in their devices, Ossia has been creating after-market upgrades like a Cota-compatible smartphone case, or Cota-friendly AAs that can be installed in devices that use replaceable batteries.
The first public Cota demos happened almost five years ago, but today Ossia has finally revealed the first collection of gadgets that will be Cota-compatible right out of the box. And even if the French company Archos isn’t a household name, it’s another step in the right direction for this innovative technology.
Pricing and exact availability aren’t finalised just yet outside of a 2022 ETA, nor are the final designs of these devices, but Archos is promising at least four Cota-compatible gadgets next year: an indoor wireless camera that can be installed anywhere without the worry of its battery dying, air quality and temperature displays, a smart tracker that will automatically be recharged whenever it’s returned home, and a smartwatch that can be worn all day and all night indefinitely, making it useful for tracking both daytime activities and sleep behaviours.
These four devices aren’t necessarily going to change the world, but they will help demonstrate the usefulness and flexibility of Ossia’s Cota technology, and hopefully inspire other device makers to jump on board as well. But this is all assuming that Ossia finds a way to make its Cota wireless power transmitter affordable as well.