Vivo’s next phone may offer true, room-scale, wireless charging


3, 2019

It is likely that the majority of our readers have Qi wireless charging on their phones, and while it offers great convenience, it also has some annoyances, such as needing to leave your phone on its charging pad or otherwise interrupting the flow of electrons, and of course needing to remember to place it on the pad in the first instance.

The solution is, of course, true wireless charging, where merely entering a certain area (such as your home or office) would start delivering current to your handset.

A San Jose-based startup, Energous, promise just that, saying they can charge electronics truly wirelessly at up to 20Watt within 15 feet of their transmitter.

Their system converts electrical power into radio waves,  which is then beamed to devices with a compatible receiver. Their first solution, with the WattUp Mid Field transmitter, only supports 3 foot but can charge a number of devices at a time, and the CTO of Energous, Michael Leabman,  claims up to 15-foot range.

Now one of the first companies to sign a license for the technology is Asian OEM Vivo, famous for their handsets which are often more concept than reality, but nevertheless pretty groundbreaking.

“We are excited to announce a collaboration with vivo, a top 6 global smartphone manufacturer, to explore the use of our WattUp wireless charging 2.0 technology,” said Stephen R. Rizzone, president and CEO of Energous Corporation. “As a society, we rely so heavily on our smartphones every day, and their draining batteries are a constant pain point for consumers. Vivo is looking for WattUp to provide a solution that alleviates the battery anxiety problem that exists today, as it offers a variety of benefits over first-generation technologies, while giving consumers much greater utility with their devices.”

“As one of the world’s largest emerging smartphone manufacturers and a preferred brand among young consumers globally, vivo is an extraordinary company that takes an innovative approach to solving user pain points by leveraging leading technologies,” said Mark Tyndall, senior vice president, corporate development and strategy, and general manager, emerging products business group at Dialog Semiconductor. “There is an incredible market opportunity that exists in the smartphone industry, and we believe Energous’ collaboration with vivo has the ability to introduce the revolutionary WattUp technology to the masses and drive forward wireless charging 2.0 in a significant way.”

It is not known if or when the first commercial product with Energous’s technology will ship, but if anyone is likely to deliver it will be Vivo, who released one of the first handsets with an in-display fingerprint reader and of course pop-up selfie camera, and one of the first handsets with no ports at all.

See Energous’s technology vision below:


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