The concept of wireless charging—a point that drives at least some Internet of Things (IoT) operations—has been steadily on the rise for the last couple of years, and we first saw the concept of WiTricity come online back in 2014 when we found Dell (News - Alert) was working with it. Now, that work has taken tangible form, and a tangible form shoppers will be able to buy starting in June in the form of the Latitude 7285.
The Latitude 7285 is a 12 inch tablet with a detachable keyboard, making it a two-in-one laptop. Powered by Kaby Lake processors, and offering a Sharp (News - Alert) IGZO display that can display in up to 3K resolution, the company plans to offer several different dock options to use a keyboard with the system.
Yet the true winning point of this system is its wireless charging capabilities. It will boast a wireless receiving coil using a magnetic resonance technology created by WiTricity. This system is itself compliant with the AirFuel wireless charging specifications, making it potentially even suitable in some IoT applications. It's also slated to be the first Dell product that works with the company's WiGig wireless dock system, as it will also sell a WiTricity charging pad that makes the entire system cordless.
AirFuel was, as of early 2016, one of the two biggest standards in wireless charging. The second major standard was the Qi alliance, but reports note that Intel (News - Alert), which was supposed to announce charging technology related to the alliance sometime in 2016, instead canceled work on the concept back in spring, leaving AirFuel to forge ahead. With IHS (News - Alert) projecting that wireless charging would make $8.5 billion in annual revenue by 2018—it was only generating around $216 million in 2013—that could mean a major windfall for the AirFuel group.
Dell's vice president of product strategy and innovation, Neil Hand, told TMC (News - Alert) specifically, “Given that Dell tools help the world's brightest minds do their absolute best work, we are committed to driving innovation that brings revolutionary gains in productivity to the enterprise. Innovative IT teams see a future with no wires including wireless power as a key step toward improvements in mobility and convenience. WiTricity's wireless charging technology makes it possible to integrate magnetic resonance in today's thin, iconic computing products. Dell’s collaboration with WiTricity enabled creation of a charging solution that can power a Latitude 7285 at close-to wired charging speed.”
At any rate, wireless charging systems are likely to address one major point of IoT systems: getting power to remote operations. While some have gone to solar systems or other more natural power generation strategies, wireless charging—especially over any distance—can make a huge difference in providing power to remote systems. That makes the IoT's full power felt, and the Latitude 7285 serves as a means to show off what this technology can do.
It's a great start to a wireless future—I've certainly wished my Dell laptop would recharge itself without needing a power outlet around—and the farther along we go, the more likely our devices won't need that final cable after all.