LAS VEGAS — Starting next year, Seattle-area startup Ossia’s wireless charging technology will be available in a consumer product for the first time, thanks to a new partnership with phone accessory maker Spigen.
In 2020, the companies plan to release a wireless charging case for smartphones that works with a transmitter sending power to the sleeve similar to how Wi-Fi works. Spigen is licensing Ossia’s “Cota” wireless technology and will handle the manufacturing and production of a mass-market wireless phone case.
GeekWire got a chance to check out a prototype of the wireless charging case at CES this week. It’s bulky, but there are plenty of phone cases of similar size out there today. The final version of the phone charging sleeve will be much smaller and lighter, Ossia CEO Mario Obeidat told GeekWire.
The case has a lithium ion battery inside that receives power wirelessly from the transmitter and supplies power to the smartphone’s battery. Transmitters could resemble Wi-Fi routers in size and power the within a small area like a room or house. At CES, Ossia had its booth rigged up with ceiling tiles that incorporate the Cota technology and serve as the transmitter.
Ossia and Spigen would not say what the price of their phone case will be. However, Obeidat said the components are not very expensive to produce and the goal is to make it affordable for the consumer. Obeidat envisions users having multiple transmitters placed throughout their daily routine so that they don’t have to worry about the threat of a dead battery.
“Our goal and vision with our new platforms is to have transmitters in the home, to have a transmitter in the car, to have a transmitter when you go to the office,” Obeidat said. “So, when you move from one place to another to another, they’re constantly powering. This is the last cord to cut, in that you never have to think about powering.
Founded in 2008, Ossia has spent more than a decade developing the “Cota” technology that can charge electronic devices wirelessly without wires or pads but has yet to release a consumer product. The technology has appeared in several business uses. The 80-person company has raised $50 million from investors like Intel Capital, KDDI, Molex, and others.
Ossia recently released a Cota 5.8GHz wireless power system, an improvement on its 2.4GHz system that allows for a smaller transmitter and receiver antenna. The 5.8GHz system is a key reason the company now feels comfortable bringing its technology to a consumer market.
When asked about competition, Obeidat, claims there’s no company that can match what Ossia is doing with regards to wireless charging.
“No one can have a transmitter at this distance or within a room and power an iPhone or a battery, or any devices like this,” Obeidat said. “So, I view our competitor as the wire, doing nothing and continue to plug in.”