As a consumer of electronics I just made a purchase of the Air Dock:
Based on my usage, it does two important things, it holds my phone in place and charges it without fooling around with cables when I get in my car.
Evidently it can hold up a Nexus 7 too because it uses magnets as well as a sticky surface.
It's Qi based which is fine since I'm going to use it with a Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 when I upgrade.
What does not make much sense to me are desktop pad type chargers. You're not really going to use your device while it is on the pad and as "wireless" as these chargers are, they still have a power cord.
I don't expect that these chargers are ever going to realize Tesla's dream of wireless power transmission so I don't see where low efficiency long distance (a few inches) chargers are going to be game changers for consumer electronics, a standard like Qi should do just fine (if it can support enough power).
For medical devices I can see a good case for the RF stuff but that shouldn't influence the smart phone charger market.
Bottom line, I will be using a wireless charger but I'm not giving up my standardized usb cable because it is better for many situations.
The challenge is the efficiency of inductive charging technology drastically falls down over distance from the charger. From user's perspective the wireless charging would add value if there are no restrictions regarding how the phone could be placed on the charger. Another requirement I could think of is that the same charger to work with phones from different manufacturers...hence I think only one among these technologies would survive in long run...and some point of time there would be a need for making a standard for this (like USB charging). Finally I would not want to change the charging station as frequently as phones...hence the technology should be forward looking, which should last for several years.
Humavox RF talks of a range, but the main frequency mentioned is 2.4GHz-- they really should pick a different frequency than WiFi (device won't be connected to WiFi while charging? Really?) and microwave ovens (this isn't WiFi mW signal, but several thousand mW it sounds like. I am not sure I want several potential multiple watt "microwave oven" transmitters sitting on a table next to the bed, or facing me while working). Sure there are technical solutions for 2.4GHz, but the first kitten fried-- in reality or not-- by a failing Humavox 2.4GHz open top cup shaped nest "microwave oven" will severely dent their product reputation. On the up side, perhaps one could hard boil an egg in the nest while working those long hours...
I agree with two of the conclusions that Kinnar expressed, that there's really two markets and that the in-ear and at least some internet of things will go with RF.
As far as smartphones and tablets are concerned I would say the biggest issue is with the smartphones. Talk time, in heavy use scenarios, is way overoptimistic. Using speakerphone while browsing is very power consuming. Not only the display and the 4G but the cellular connection. In congested metropolitan areas the transmitter often has to up power to get through interference. These scenarios can drain a battery such that you can't make it through the day.
So, with the smartphone we're at the mercy of chargers during the day. The USB port, especially the 2.1A type do the job, however they are inconvenient when call is made or answered, usually disconnecting the USB connector to the phone. This is not only an inconvenience but a potential reliability problem with the phone connector.
I see charging stations becoming ubiquitous, just putting phone on a pad will be very attractive feature and certainly offices and homes can be easily equipped.
On the technical side I see a problem. In the article there is mention that the induction and resonant technologies presently have relatively low power delivery capabilities. New USB charging is specified at 2.1A, that's because the older 1A has proved inadequate. My Nokia Qi is specified to charge between 0.5 and 1.5A. Providing such technology as a feature on a car won't work. A major use for smartphones in cars is for GPS apps. The GPS apps, by default leave the display on. The current wireless charging will not even supply enough power to keep the phone from discharging.
I find it especially frustrating since the wonderful initiative to standardize charger connectors so that we don't need to fill up drawers with obsolete chargers is being thwarted by the emerging multiplicity of wireless charging devices.
@DrQuine, good points. The shorter life cycle of smartphones changes the game. But still, someone has to pay for a charger...and there is no assurance for whatever wireless charger you invested in will last long enough to amortize your investment...
What are the costs of the wireless charging technologies? Is it practical to build a device that can support all 4 competing technologies? If such a "universal" device were made, would software updates be sufficient to accomodate subsequent device enhancements?
Until a stable standard is in place - or there is assurance of upward compatibility - consumers cannot rationally invest in the systems.
[Of course with the short SmartPhone technology life cycles, people used to buying new chargers for each new SmartPhone may be willing to expend the same funds on a new wireless charger for each generation. If so, the vision of standardized chargers for phones will have been defeated by the evolving wireless charger technologies.]
I will say the article covering two different application techniques, one for the mobile phones, tablets etc, and second for in-ear and internet of things kind of devices.
The first will not be having much acceptance in the broad market of it, only few top end customers will be ready to spend more for wireless charging, but the second application technique based on RF will become and essential entity if it proves its chargeability in real world applications.