Last year, we saw the introduction of the Wireless Charging Specification introduced by the NFC Forum, providing a way to use your phone’s integrated NFC chip as a way to wirelessly charge your earbuds (or other accessories). By using this, your phone wouldn’t need to have a “reverse wireless charging” functionality built-in by phone makers like Samsung or Google. Instead, you could just place your earbuds on the back of the phone and have them begin charging.
Today, the NFC Forum has announced that it has released Wireless Charging Specification 2.0. With WLC 2.0, the goal is to make this process even easier for both the makers of “low-power devices” and smartphone manufacturers. WLC 2.0 now supports more antenna sizes, allowing for compatibility with more devices, along with allowing for smaller, lighter, and more affordable accessories.
“Over 60 million wireless earbuds were sold Q1 2021 worldwide. These and many other consumer products operate on rechargeable batteries and the NFC Forum’s Wireless Charging Technical Specification 2.0 is an easy, convenient method to keep everything charged. This specification will also further improve the user experience for the two billion consumers and businesses using smartphones and other connected products,” said Mike McCamon, executive director, NFC Forum. “It is part of a global trend toward the creation and proliferation of smaller, rechargeable devices and will allow the majority of smartphones and other NFC-enabled devices to communicate with and charge these products.”
It’s no secret that the wireless earbuds market continues to grow in popularity, as evidenced by Nothing’s decision to enter the market with its first product. Plus, there are new earbuds released on a seemingly weekly basis, many of which include wireless charging capabilities of some kind.
The only catch with this new method for wireless charging is that it’s limited to charging speeds of up to 1W. Comparatively, the reverse wireless charging feature found in some smartphones comes in around 4.5W, but this does require extra work by the OEM to integrate the feature into the software. WLC 2.0, if implemented, would be able to use the NFC chip to not only quickly pair your earbuds, but charge them in some capacity.