This Is the World’s First Truly Wireless Smartphone Charger That Actually Has No Wires

Originally posted by Andrew Liszewski in The Messenger

The Cota Forever Magnetic Phone Charger is the first wireless charger that doesn't need a power cord

Like jumbo shrimp or deafening silence, wireless charging is usually an oxymoron, because while you don't need to plug a cable into your phone, the charger itself needs corded access to power. That's about to change with the Cota Forever Magnetic Phone Charger, which can draw power out of thin air.

It's a product that sounds straight out of science fiction, but it's based on a technology that Ossia has been demonstrating at the Consumer Electronics Show since 2016. The same way your smartphone can access the internet using wireless signals, a smartphone upgraded with Ossia's Cota technology can access power beamed through the air.

Are there still cords involved somewhere? Yes, similar to how a wireless router sits plugged in somewhere in your home and serves up Wi-Fi to the entire house, the Cota technology relies on a base unit plugged into an outlet that transmits power wirelessly using radio frequencies.

Inside the Cota base station are thousands of tiny antennas that detect the broadcasted location of a device that can be charged wirelessly over the air and then beams a powerful RF wireless signal directly towards them. This back and forth communication happens 100 times every second allowing devices to be tracked and wirelessly charged even as they're moving around.

There are currently very few devices on the market natively compatible with Ossia's Cota system, which is why the company's new Cota Forever Magnetic Phone Charger is a useful accessory.

The Cota Forever Magnetic Phone Charger is about the size of the deck of a playing cards and magnetically attaches to the back of mobile devices that support wireless charging, including iPhones compatible with the company's MagSafe feature, and devices compatible with the Qi and new Qi2 wireless charging standard—many of which are being announced at CES 2024.

Like a portable charger that never needs charging itself, the Cota Forever Magnetic Phone Charger delivers power to the device it's attached to, but without a heavy battery inside it. Until the Cota wireless power technology is built directly into mobile devices like iPhones and Android smartphones this charger will be the most convenient way to wirelessly charge a mobile device, but it does have its drawbacks.

The device delivers around two watts of power at a distance of just over six feet, and less than that the farther away you get, so that means it will take a lot longer to charge a mobile device using over-the-air power than if you plugged in. Even the tiny charger Apple used to include with iPhones delivered five watts of power. The Cota technology also has a smaller range than Wi-Fi —about 30 feet— so if you want to wander around a mansion with access to wireless power everywhere, you'll need multiple base station transmitters installed around the house. And unlike your home's wi-fi network that can easily have 30 or 40 devices connected, only a limited number of mobile devices can be wirelessly charged at a time.

Pricing and availability details for the Cota Forever Magnetic Phone Charger aren't known at this time, but after seeing the technology being demonstrated at CES for eight years, we're optimistic consumers will finally be able to get their hands on it this year.