Skip to main content

Belkin denies report that it’s launching a truly wireless charger

This morning, we heard some news that would be exciting if true — that Belkin is working on what could be the very first consumer gadget with truly wireless charging, the kind that actually beams a small amount of power through the air and across a room.

That’s what Wi-Charge founder and chief business officer Ori Mor told TechCrunch this morning — going so far as to claim that Belkin would launch a specific, “center-stage consumer product” with the tech later this year.

But Belkin is now denying much of that report, telling The Verge that not only is there no product as of today, but the two companies also haven’t even moved to the product concept phase yet.

Belkin spokesperson Jen Wei confirmed that Wi-Charge and Belkin do have a partnership to explore some product concepts but that “the TechCrunch story has taken liberties for sure on what we are able to promise right now.”

“Currently our agreement with Wi-Charge only commits us to R&D on some product concepts so it’s too early to comment on timing of viable consumer products,” Wei writes.

Bizarrely, Wi-Charge isn’t defending its founders’ statements one way or another: when we reached out, spokesperson Merrill Freund wouldn’t even confirm or deny whether its founder was telling the truth in that TechCrunch interview mere hours ago. “We are not commenting about Belkin beyond what is in the release,” he wrote, adding that Wi-Charge does intend to launch two products with wireless charging “on our own.”

It’s not clear whether Mor was lying or simply spoke without Belkin’s authorization and is clamming up now. But it is pretty clear he didn’t misspeak — TechCrunch has quote after quote from Mor insisting that Belkin has at least one product on the way.

Either way, if Belkin hasn’t moved to the product concept phase yet, it seems unlikely that a product will come out for sure this year, especially in the middle of the pandemic when many companies are having a tough time shipping products around the world.

Belkin did seem excited about the potential for a Wi-Charge partnership in a press release this morning, though:

“In line with our continued commitment to deliver the best charging experience to our customers, we are excited to uncover the full potential of Wi-Charge’s unparalleled over-the-air wireless charging technology,” said Brian Van Harlingen, CTO, Belkin. “The future of charging has been transitioning from wired to wireless for years now and we anticipate over the air wireless charging to accelerate this evolution.”

If a Belkin product doesn’t materialize, it would be far from the first false start for truly wireless power transfer. We’ve been following the tech on and off for over a decade, watching companies like Energous and uBeam make promises and demos and go nowhere fast. More recently, Chinese phone makers, including Xiaomi, Oppo, and Motorola, have announced versions of the tech, but none offered release dates last we checked. There’s no question that the tech works on a basic level; the demos are convincing, but companies haven’t stuck the landing yet.

The previous “oh, we’re actually getting a real product” moment was also from Wi-Charge, when it announced the tech would appear in the Alfred ML2 lock at CES 2020. But we’re not seeing evidence that lock went on sale almost two years later, and the only mention of it on the company’s website is buried in a hub page.

Wi-Charge’s tech also isn’t the kind that would charge a laptop or phone, by the way: it only beams 1 watt using infrared light, which is barely enough to charge a pair of wireless earbuds and their charging case. Still, it could keep low-energy devices continually powered, saving batteries, and it beams power up to 40 feet away, according to the company.



Source: The Verge

Popular posts from this blog

FCC approves broadband 'nutrition labels' to help you shop for internet

The FCC is pushing nutrition labels for internet providers. What you need to know The FCC has voted to move forward with new rules for ISPs to display nutrition labels. The proposed rulemaking would mandate ISPs to display relevant speed and pricing information to consumers. This should make it easier for consumers to make an informed decision on their broadband. The FCC voted unanimously on a plan that would allow consumers to make better decisions about their broadband internet. The proposal will require internet service providers (ISPs) - including many of the best wireless carriers in the U.S. — to display "nutrition labels" that display relevant service information for consumers at point-of-sale. This includes internet speeds, allowances, and clear information on rates. "If you walk into any grocery store and pull boxes of cereal from the shelves, you can easily compare calories and carbohydrates," FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statemen

Slack’s new integration deal with AWS could also be about tweaking Microsoft

Slack and Amazon announced a big integration late yesterday afternoon. As part of the deal, Slack will use Amazon Chime for its call feature, while reiterating its commitment to use AWS as its preferred cloud provider to run its infrastructure. At the same time, AWS has agreed to use Slack for internal communications. Make no mistake, this is a big deal as the SaaS communications tool increases its ties with AWS, but this agreement could also be about slighting Microsoft and its rival Teams product by making a deal with a cloud rival. In the past Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield has had choice words for Microsoft saying the Redmond technology giant sees his company as an “existential threat.” Whether that’s true or not — Teams is but one piece of a huge technology company — it’s impossible not to look at the deal in this context. Aligning more deeply with AWS sends a message to Microsoft, whose Azure infrastructure services compete with AWS. Butterfield didn’t say that of course

Yandex spins out self-driving car unit from its Uber JV, invests $150M into newco

Self-driving cars are still many years away from becoming a ubiquitous reality, but today one of the bigger efforts to build and develop them is taking a significant step out as part of its strategy to be at the forefront for when they do. Yandex — the publicly-traded Russian tech giant that started as a search engine but has expanded into a number of other, related areas (similar to US counterpart Google) — today announced that it is spinning out its self-driving car unit from MLU BV — a ride-hailing and food delivery joint venture it operates in partnership with Uber. The move comes amid reports that Yandex and Uber were eyeing up an IPO for MLU  last year. At the time, the JV was estimated to be valued at around $7.7 billion. It’s not clear how those plans will have been impacted in recent months, with COVID-19 putting huge pressure on ride-hailing and food-delivery businesses globally, and IPOs generally down compared to a year ago. In that context, spinning out the unit could

Elon Musk sends yet another notice trying to terminate the Twitter deal

Kristen Radtke / The Verge; Getty Images Elon Musk has sent a third letter to Twitter attempting to terminate his $44 billion acquisition of the company . Musk’s legal team cited Twitter’s multimillion dollar severance payment to former security chief and whistleblower Peiter Zatko as a violation of the merger agreement and a reason to end the deal. The letter, dated September 9th, was sent to Twitter’s chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde, and was included in a filing Twitter made with the SEC on Friday (which you can read at the bottom of this article). Last month, Zatko made headlines by accusing Twitter of misleading investors about the number of bots on the service, failing to delete users’ data, and having poor security practices, among other things. Musk jumped on the accusations, citing them in his second termination letter and subpoenaing Zatko to testify in the lawsuit. Zatko was set to be deposed on Friday. Elon Musk sent his first letter of termination in July , say