Wireless charging with NFC is on the way

Your grandma's hearing aid or your boyfriend's AirPods: All manner of devices will soon be able to charge wirelessly via NFC. — dpa

To charge a small device like a pair of wireless earbuds or a fitness tracker, you normally need to plug in some kind of cable like on your smartphone. But in future, you'll likely be able to charge them wirelessly from your smartphone using NFC.

NFC chips are more familiar as a way to help you pair Bluetooth devices, get access to a building with a key card or pay with your smartphone using services like Apple Pay or Google Pay.

But this technology, which allows two chips to share information when held close together, may soon also be used to charge devices.

In practice, you would just need to put your earbuds or some other low-wattage device on the back of your smartphone or potentially a wireless charger with NFC built in.

In early May, the NFC Forum body that regulates the standards used in this technology approved a new standard for charging via NFC that could be used by the world's two billion consumers and businesses using NFC-enabled devices.

Don't expect fast charging speeds, however. NFC charging will be limited to smaller battery-powered devices, as the maximum power transfer rate will be 1 watt – compare that to upwards of 25 watt on modern chargers for smartphones.

There are no devices yet that support the new standard announced by the NFC Forum, the body that regulates Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.

Some smartphone manufacturers have already implemented such a charging option for their own products, but the new technical specification opens up the possibility that devices from different manufacturers will be able to charge each other. – dpa

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