Dell is testing reverse wireless charging on laptops, patent shows

Daniel Sims

Posts: 586   +21
Staff
Forward-looking: One potential new method of charging your phone or other portable devices could be to simply lay them on top of your laptop. Apple has been exploring this solution for years, and a recent patent shows Dell is also considering it. Patents often don't materialize into actual products however, so readers should only see this as an experimental concept for the time being.

Patently Apple has uncovered a Dell patent for using laptop surfaces to charge portable devices. The system involves laying the devices on top of an accessory attached to the laptop supplying inductive power.

The illustrations below are taken from Dell's US patent application 20220239124, published last week, showing a wireless charging clip that attaches to a laptop just below the keyboard using magnets and a power output connection on the laptop.

Devices like smartphones would lie on top of the clip comprised of a charging coil and a ferrite sheet.

Apple has patents for a slightly different charging system using the same basic concept. Instead of employing an attachment, Apple would install the charging coils inside new MacBooks which could charge an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch lying on top.

While a clip could presumably only charge devices while the laptop is open, Apple's concept would also let MacBooks charge them while closed, offering a wider surface area for more devices. However, Dell's idea for a separate clip could prove cheaper since it could attach to different laptops.

If either system ever materializes, it could lead to chargers occupying fewer power outlets than other solutions like charging pads. Apple canceled its attempt at a large charging pad – the AirPower – in 2019. Currently, the company offers the MagSafe Charger and MagSafe Battery Pack for those who need better longevity in their devices.

Other companies are experimenting with different wireless charging methods. Ikea's $40 charger mounts under a table or desk, charging devices sitting on top. Although that system is less conspicuous, it still requires cables. A startup called Wi-Charge is developing an IR-based system where a charger connected to an outlet beams power directly to devices. This solution appears versatile, but can't deliver enough wattage to keep a phone fully charged.

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Uncle Al

Posts: 9,088   +8,126
Could be interesting, especially if they extend the range from the laptop to the charger ..... Is Mr. Niccola Tesla available, please?
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,530   +5,966
That's just great, exactly what dell needs, MORE wear and tear on already overtaxed batteries that fail in 2 years.

I am SO tired of fixing latitude 7390 batteries......
 

terzaerian

Posts: 1,488   +2,200
That's just great, exactly what dell needs, MORE wear and tear on already overtaxed batteries that fail in 2 years.

I am SO tired of fixing latitude 7390 batteries......
I keep screaming into the void, we need something like this on a desktop PC. Only then can we have truly wireless peripherals that aren't ultimately tethered to replaceable batteries and chargers, and the power-sipping nature of peripherals like mouse, keyboard, or webcam all lend themselves to wireless chargers better anyways.
 

ypsylon

Posts: 525   +544
Has Dell (and by extension Apple) completely lost their corporate minds?

Wireless charging is hugely, stupendously inefficient. You lose min. 60+% electricity used to charge the battery to 100% as worthless heat - the bigger the battery more electricity is wasted. On tiny device as phone, yeah kind of workable, but still dumb. On huge batteries its sheer idiocy and brainless design. Especially now as we entered stage of prolonged energy crisis with prices of electricity around the World shooting up to the moon and beyond. As a side note our small company - where I'm, we got already 3 electricity cost increases past 5 months, industrial electricity cost is right now 300+% of what it was in 2021 (after conversion): 0.17 cents vs 0.58 cents + VAT of course; and for sure its not the end. It's not sustainable, in the long run, for companies to function like this. Period.

I don't get it what's so wrong about using cable connection to charge? It's not like wireless charger is not connected to anything, unless somebody discovered a way for a wi-fi charger to draw energy directly from dark matter or blackhole.

Don't forget to shrink battery capacity by two!
They'll have to, unless Dell want to create one giant tesla coil out of the laptop itself.
 

GoldenGoat

Posts: 74   +76
If it adds any extra size or weight to the laptop then I would avoid it. It is not a feature that I care about and would prefer to disable it in the bios if I had this laptop.
 

MarkHughes

Posts: 299   +264
Looks to me like it limits your keyboard use and stops you closing the lid, I will stick with a cable and my phone out the way thanks.
 
Ok, but my Samsung Galaxy Book Ion laptop has been able to do this for 2 years. It charges via the trackpad and works great. Obviously, you can't use the trackpad when you're charging your phone but it's not a huge problem if you have a mouse, or if you're just taking a break from work for a bit.

I don't get all the hate from some of the comments. Yes, you can obviously charge it (faster) via a cable, and yes, it might make it awkward to type for a bit, but if you forget your cable or charger and find your phone is about to shut off, it's a life saver. I don't get the mentality of "I don't want it, therefore it's stupid". Where does the article recommend charging a phone from 0 to 100%? It's the little bit that could see you to the end of the day that's the important thing. Or charging your earbuds. Or your watch. So many possibilities, so many reasons. Nobody is telling you to stop using a cable -- it's an extra option if you happen not to have one.

It doesn't add any weight. My 15" laptop weighs about 2.5lbs. A 15" Dell XPS is closer to 4lbs.

I've had this laptop for 1 year and 11 months, and I still get 10 hours of battery life out of it.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,828   +1,892
Wireless charging is hugely, stupendously inefficient. You lose min. 60+% electricity used. . On tiny device as phone, yeah kind of workable, but still dumb.
By your logic, radio stations and cell phone towers are "stupid" as well -- they waste more than 99% of their power by broadcasting wirelessly. Your posting to this forum is equally pointless -- 100% of the electricity your computer and cable modem consumed was wasted entirely.

Wireless charging is more efficient than wired in terms of the one resource we are most limited on. Time. Plugging and unplugging devices takes time ... a trivial amount per instance, but multiplied by dozens of instances per day times thousands of days times billions of people around the globe, the human cost is enormous.

Using an electricity-consuming device to wash your clothes, car, and dirty dishes wastes energy also. But it saves you time ... and so I strongly suspect you use these conveniences. Don't you?

where I'm, we got already 3 electricity cost increases past 5 months, industrial electricity cost is right now 300+% of what it was in 2021
Tell your power company not to depend on windmills and Russian natural gas. There's plenty of energy on the planet. But poor decisions have consequences.