Despite Apple’s lengthy and ongoing efforts to deliver much-improved charging technologies, archrival Samsung has beaten Cupertino in the race for truly wireless charging. Except you won’t find it in a smartphone … yet.
The South Korean company’s next-generation TV remote — announced this week ahead of CES 2022 — cleverly uses radio waves emitted from your Wi-Fi router to stay topped up so you don’t have to worry about charging it.
Samsung makes a TV remote that charges over Wi-Fi
Samsung took several steps to eliminate replaceable batteries from its TV remotes in recent years. The company thinks that by using alternative power options, it can avoid around 99 million discarded batteries over seven years.
Its first Eco Remote, introduced last year, comes with solar-charging capabilities, coupled with a rechargeable lithium-ion pack — like those found in smartphones and tablets — to avoid AAA batteries entirely.
For 2022, Samsung has something even more impressive up its sleeve. Its brand-new Eco Remote combines a built-in solar panel with new wireless charging technology that uses radio waves emitted by Wi-Fi routers.
It works by “collecting routers’ radio waves and converting them to energy,” Samsung explains. And because it doesn’t require any special Wi-Fi technology, it’s compatible with almost every router in use today.
A step in the right direction
This is an incredibly exciting step forward for wireless charging, but it’s still early days. This can work for a low-energy device like a TV remote. However, it’s likely to be some time before similar solutions are available for smartphones.
But many companies, including Apple, continue to work toward a completely wireless charging future for mobile devices. Patents filed by Cupertino give us a sneak peek at the options it is exploring to eliminate cables.
Apple also acquired firms like PowerbyProxi, which focused on building new wireless solutions that negate the need for charging pads by using radio waves to deliver power through the air.
Samsung’s new Eco Remote should ship this year with the company’s new Frame, Serif and Sero TVs.