Freescale Unveils ICs for Wireless Charging

The new devices and reference designs are aimed at wireless charging products in cars as well as homes and public places.

connected car

Freescale Semiconductor is introducing wireless charging technology and reference designs aimed at expanding its use in automobiles and in public places like airports, hotels and restaurants.

The company on Aug. 27 introduced several programmable wireless charging integrated circuits (ICs) and reference designs that system makers can leverage in building their products. Freescale officials are looking to offer greater customization through differentiated solutions for automotive and consumer applications and through software APIs.

"Current solutions in the market offer very little customization or flexibility," Denis Cabrol, director of global marketing and business development for Freescale's MCU group, said in a statement. "Freescale's programmable wireless charging solutions offer groundbreaking design flexibility, combining silicon and software to give systems designers advanced technology to help redefine mobility."

The new transmit controller ICs and reference designs, which are available immediately, are based on the Qi standard developed through the Wireless Power Consortium. The WPC is one of several vendor groups working on specifications for wireless charging through a technology called magnetic resonance, an indication of the growing interest in the capability.

Another group, the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), is developing a wireless charging standard called Rezence, a standard embraced by the likes of Intel, Dell, Qualcomm and Samsung. The Power Matters Alliance (PMA) in February said it would work with the A4WP to enable interoperability between their respective standards.

Freescale is a member of both the WPC and PMA. According to the WPC, the Qi standard is used in more than 400 products, and Qi-enabled smartphones are available from the likes of Samsung, Nokia and Sharp. In addition, Qi charging stations can be found worldwide, according to consortium members.

Intel officials in a blog post Aug. 20 talked about the company's efforts toward creating a completely wireless mobile environment, including work the company is doing around the wireless charging of electronic devices.

Freescale officials said the importance of wireless charging not only is found in homes, offices and public places, but also in cars, where they said—citing numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau—the average daily work commute in the country is about 50 minutes and that people increasingly are demanding better connectivity and charging options in their automobiles.

The company is offering two automobile IC solutions and a reference design. The MWCT1001A is an entry-level device that supports multiple coil topologies, while the MWCT1003A is a premium offering with more features that make it easy for device makers to integrate such capabilities as Near Field Communications (NFC) and multistandard support. The programming interface for the ICs also enable system makers to deal with such issues as interference from car radios and key fobs.

The capabilities can be seen in the WCT-5WTXAUTO reference design.

On the consume side, Freescale is providing the MWCT1000 transmit controller IC and the WCT-5WCOILTX reference design for addressing 5 watt single-coil applications, the company said. The reference design gives system makers a platform to leverage, reducing their time-to-market and costs for building their solutions.

Freescale also is offering the MWCT1101 controller IC, which officials said offers the chance for more innovation around end-user products.