Wireless charging has, until now, been limited to a range of an inch or so, but things are improving, and Intel thinks it's possible for solutions of this sort to replace cables altogether in a very short time.
We've seen it before: a company or other coming up with an idea that can change the world as we know it. Usually, it doesn't happen, except on a very small scale, maybe.
Intel, however, has the advantage of a very strong brand and a lot of money (to say the absolute least). That means two things.
One: its claims, no matter how outlandish, will seldom be dismissed out of hand. Two: even if it doesn't charm the pants off everyone in hearing distance, it has the money to make its vision happen if it really wants to.
That's why it actually might make it unnecessary for computers, of any sort, to have cables by the time 2016 rolls around.
Sure, the millions, billions of PCs around the world aren't likely to just be replaced in the short term, but just making it all possible will be a great step forward.
Chipzilla presented its vision at Computex 2014, taking place in Taipei, Taiwan. It demonstrated a wireless charging technology based on A4WP standard Rezence.
Essentially, you install a wireless charger under a table, and just put your laptop on said table for the technology to kick in. The signal should go through even two inches of wood.
Moreover, the technology can recharge more than one device at the same time, which is very good for crowded cafes, airports, train stations, waiting rooms, etc.
It begs the question of where desktop PCs become part of the picture. Does Intel intend to urge makers of normal systems to install batteries or UPSes inside cases? It would be the only way to truly make them independent.
Most likely, desktops will be left alone, while Intel's focus stays on the mobile computer market. At least for one more decade or so.
At least it means that computers really could start to do away with cables by the time 2016 rolls around. Peripherals have been working over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi for years now, and external storage devices have been adapting to a similar way of operation as well. Thus, only the power cable is really standing in front of the cable-free era that so many people are dreaming of.
Add to that the wireless docking system that will let you stream the content on your computer screen to any other screen, and you've got all your bases covered, and then some. Now if only Intel decided to use that long-distance wireless charging technology instead, the one that reaches across rooms, we'd really have a reason to gush.