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Broadcom opens up wireless charging with new SoC

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Chip maker Broadcom has built a new interoperable power management unit  for smartphones, allowing devices to use any wireless charging standard.

Smartphone makers are currently sampling the BCM59350 system on chip (SoC), which can automatically select from the three main wireless charging standards. These are Alliance for Wireless Power, Power Matters Alliance and the Wireless Power Consortium. The former uses resonant technology, dubbed Rezence, which allows consumers to places multiple devices onto a charging plate without the need for accurate alignment. Rezence uses Bluetooth Smart as the communication technology between the handset and the charging surface.

Among the features of the SoC is the ability to support a quicker charge than standard USB or plug chargers. The SoC can be placed within the battery cover or smartphone mother board and it also can operate alongside NFC technology.

Broadcom also provides SoCs and software for charging pads, which it calls Wiced (Wireless Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices).

Reinier van der Lee, Broadcom Product Director, Mobile Platforms, said: "Broadcom's new wireless charging technology enables device manufacturers to build multi-standard wireless power receivers, alleviating consumer confusion and driving the benefits of Rezence technology into the mainstream.

"Broadcom delivers the complete package — interoperable wireless charging, leading mobile connectivity and Wiced Smart technology for charging pads, simplifying the development process and enabling a fully interoperable ecosystem to our customers." 

According to research from IHS, demand for wireless charging is set to "explode" during the next five years. Ryan Sanderson, IHS Technology Associate Director, Power Supply and Storage Components said: "IHS forecasts the number of devices shipped annually that are enabled to charge wirelessly to increase to over $50 million in 2014 and accelerate to $900 million in 2018.  This is projected to drive a combined market for wireless power receivers and transmitters worth $8.5 billion in 2018."

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