Motorola may be first to offer a smartphone that charges itself


You may remember a while back when we told you about WattUp by Energous. If not, go check it out — it’s freaking cool stuff. The gist of it is that these guys have come up with a way to wirelessly charge batteries without contact of any sort.

WattUp generates RF energy — the same stuff that drives radio communication or WiFi signals — and beams it in a way that an electrical harness can pocket the energy and use it for whatever it needs. The energy could come from a dedicated beamforming unit, or from a household item such as your television thanks to a panel-based version of the technology.

energous wattup

The possibilities are endless. In the case of smartphones, it could mean charging your smartphone simply by walking into a room with the phone still in your pocket. A panel could even be installed in your car. Imagine leaving for work with your battery at 56%, and arriving with an extra 15% of juice all without having to plug your phone in or place it on anything.

If you have any reservations regarding whether we’re even close to this sort of wireless charging being possible, you needn’t look any further than some big news that dropped today: the first of WattUp’s patents have been awarded to Energous, and more are on the way.

Motorola leading the way?

But when is it coming? And who’ll be the knight in shining armor to deliver the goods in a consumer-ready product? Energous said they were working with one major OEM, and we may have our first clue as to who that is: Motorola. Motorola Solutions, to be exact.

“Moto X 2016 is happening with truly wireless charging,” you might exclaim. Not so fast. It’s important to remember that Motorola Mobility isn’t the same as Motorola Solutions. The former — which was once owned by Google and is now a Lenovo subsidiary — builds consumer-focused smartphones, accessories and wearables. Motorola Solutions, on the other hand, deals in areas of advanced telephony, radio and cellular technology, network modems and other industrial things.

Motorola Solutions’ Penang arm held an internal event for their employees last week where they got to know the companies and partners behind their latest innovations. Energous attended that event:

energous motorola event

That’s not direct confirmation that Motorola Solutions will look to team up with Energous to use WattUp in some way, but it’s as close as we’re going to get ahead of any formal announcement. We followed up with a source who confirmed that these employee events are invitation only for anyone not on the payroll, and they only invite people who they are working with in some capacity. Take that for what you will.

Motorola Solutions also seems to have had an uptick in job openings for electrical engineers who specialize in RF and battery technology, though considering they make two-way radios we can’t say that’s little more than a convenient coincidence.

But it’s hard to ignore the everlasting connection between the two companies, even if they only relate to each other by name in this day and age. It’s possible Motorola Solutions could simply be exploring the technology for use in their two-way radios or other products they make where it’d make sense, but there’s nothing that says they can’t eventually produce a WattUp component for Motorola Mobility, or any other OEM, to license for use in a cool smartphone in the future.

No matter who brings it to us, it’s something we should all be clamoring for, and the first OEM to deliver the goods might find themselves in a world of success. The inventor of the cell phone believes in it enough to jump on the board of directors for Energous so it’s only a matter of time before everyone else sees it the way he does.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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