Will Apple Beat Samsung to Wireless Charging?

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Samsung is only days away from unveiling the Galaxy S IV. Millions of consumers have high expectations for the handset, which will reportedly feature a Exynos 5410 quad-core 1.8GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, a 13MP camera and a five-inch HD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Android 4.2 Jelly Bean will also be included in this highly anticipated package. If a new DigiTimes report is correct, the Galaxy S IV may also include wireless charging.

According to the publication, which is famous for delivering information from the Chinese and Taiwanese supply chains, Samsung is "expected" to add wireless charging to its "flagship models in 2013."

While the year is young, the Galaxy S IV is likely to be the biggest device Samsung releases. The Galaxy Note series has become a formidable competitor, but sales of the Galaxy Note II have not been able to compete with the 30 million Galaxy S III units that were sold in 2012.

Nokia (NYSE: NOK ) was the first major manufacturer to bring wireless charging to the masses. Battery makers have attempted to implement the technology with various adaptors, but Nokia built it directly into the Lumia 920. This inspired Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to install charging plates to its shops across the country.

Not to be outdone, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) is expected to add wireless charging to at least one device this year. DigiTimes' sources are unsure if the next-gen iPhone -- presumably the iPhone 5S -- will include the feature. At this point it seems premature; Apple has only just begun to switch from the 30-pin connector to the new Lightning connector. The company's accessory partners were then forced to adjust their products to accommodate Apple's change. By going wireless, Apple would require its partners to make additional changes -- even if the Lighting connector was still available.

Right now, wireless charging is not a necessity. The technology is still too young and too weak to change the way people charge their devices. Instead of being able to walk around a room while a phone charges, users must place it on or near a charging pad (which is plugged into the wall). Thus, users are still tethered to a power outlet.

This would be acceptable for a notebook, which is often tethered to a desk or a user's lap. In fact, Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) is planning to make use of the technology sometime this year. However, it may not be very appealing to smartphone users, many of which require more freedom than wireless charging currently provides.

Follow me @LouisBedigianBZ

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This article appears in: Investing , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: AAPL , INTC , NOK

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