Wireless technology company Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), via its wholly owned subsidiary Qualcomm Technologies, is enhancing its Quick Charge ecosystem, which provides significantly faster electronic device charging, the company said in a statement last week.
Qualcomm's launch of the updated Quick Charge 2.0 enables a broader range of electrical products to be charged approximately 75% faster than products without its technology .
The company's Quick Charge 1.0 technology, offering 10 watts of power, was primarily designed for charging smartphones and tablets. Quick Charge 2.0 delivers 60 watts, which improves charge times and increases support to cover "larger mobile computing devices like slim notebooks."
Currently available in Japan, mobile phone operator DoCoMo has partnered with Qualcomm to make the technology available for a range of smartphones, tablets, and power adapters to be accessible as of summer 2014.
The technology will also be able to charge Qualcomm's own Snapdragon 800, 600, and 400 processors, which are used in a range of smartphones made by Sony, HTC, Samsung (NASDAQOTH:SSNLF), and Motorola, among others, and even Amazon's Kindle devices. Also available as part of an integrated circuit processor or an AC/DC wall charger, users won't even have to change the charger to power up their devices.
Qualcomm's statement said it will deploy a strong Quick Charge ecosystem throughout Japan due to the country's quick uptake on new advanced technologies, but hinted that it intends to develop "beyond" the country in the future.
Intel to launch its own offerings in late 2014
Qualcomm and Samsung together founded the Alliance for Wireless Power, which competitor Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) recently joined. The consortium aims to bring wireless power solutions to consumers and has already issued wireless charging specifications, to which Quick Charge technology adheres. The companies will work together to promote wireless charging technology, but will still ultimately battle in the computer chip market.
Qualcomm's technology opens the potential for it to be used to charge Ultrabooks, which are powered by Intel . This move will increase market reach and speed deployment of Quick Charge 2.0 technology. By opting to make its technology available to competitors' devices, the Qualcomm increases its footprint in Japan and can later improve its global footprint. This also prevents the company from being locked out of the market. Generally, only companies that inspire the fiercest customer loyalty -- like Apple -- are able to successfully perform the opposite.
Intel has also put its foot in the wireless charging arena with a licensing deal in tandem with WiTricity. The two have partnered to offer their own solution that will see WiTricity implementing its resonance-based charging technology onto Intel's future devices. A spin-out from MIT, WiTricity offers wireless charging technology with efficiency of over 90%. The technology allows wireless charging of devices as small as 10W and as large as 6kW electric vehicles.
In the event of a threat in the wireless charging market from Intel, Qualcomm has a head start; Intel's WiTricity-powered laptops arrive until the end of the year. This early to-market advantage is sure to be expounded by the significant lifetimes of consumer devices. With most contract phones now available for a minimum of one or two years -- and laptops and tablets having even longer lifetimes -- a head start against Intel may mean Qualcomm is able to garner some early brand loyalty from consumers who recognize the convenience of its wireless charging solutions.
However, the success of both Qualcomm and Intel will ultimately depend on how original equipment manufacturers choose to grow their offerings within the quick-charging ecosystem. If developers and manufacturers don't want to incorporate the technology into their products, then it won't be taking off any time soon. Despite this, the initial progress made by Quick Charge 1.0, as well as Qualcomm's existing relationships with manufacturers, will weigh in its favor when it comes to bringing the technology to market.
Realizing that consumers are more inclined to use mobile devices, Qualcomm has recognized the need to improve service, experience, and flexibility. Currently priced at just over $79 per share, Qualcomm is worth buying. According to Street Insider, analyst ratings give the stock an average target of $85.27, and with the company's strong presence among original equipment manufacturers, deployment of its new Quick Charge technology is likely to be swift.