Samsung’s Duo wireless charger will probably beat Apple AirPower to shelves: Here’s why

Chris Davies - Aug 9, 2018, 12:33pm CDT
Samsung’s Duo wireless charger will probably beat Apple AirPower to shelves: Here’s why

Samsung has a new wireless charger, and it’s designed to recharge two devices simultaneously. Announced alongside the new Galaxy Note 9 and the Galaxy Watch, the Samsung Wireless Charging Duo looks set to beat Apple’s long-announced but still unavailable AirPower wireless mat to market.

The Wireless Charging Duo is effectively a double-width charging pad. On the left, there’s an upright charger to stand up your smartphone. It’s a fixed-angle stand, and unlike Samsung’s other recent wireless pads doesn’t switch between upright and flat.

On the right, meanwhile, there’s a second charging spot. That has grooves that help hold a smartwatch in place, but there’s actually no requirement to be using a wearable or, indeed, a Samsung product at all there. The whole thing uses the Qi wireless charging standard, so any Qi-compatible device – including an iPhone X – will work.

The charger itself delivers up to 15W, device-depending, and there’s a single power connection on the rear. That 15W isn’t shared, either: each pad gets up to the maximum, individually. Samsung will offer it in black and white, and it’ll be up for preorder alongside the Note 9 tomorrow, August 10, and ship by the end of the month.

What you might be wondering, of course, is how Samsung can – probably – beat Apple to market with its double charger, while the AirPower pad, announced last year alongside the iPhone X and iPhone 8, is still yet to arrive. The answer looks to be complexity, and just how ambitious a charger each company has tried to make.

The AirPower can not only recharge up to three devices wirelessly, but is designed to do so regardless of where they’re placed on its top surface. In contrast, Samsung has effectively combined two regular chargers side-by-side in a single form-factor. That’s less complex, and has allowed the company to avoid the reported engineering hassles that have apparently been troubling Apple’s AirPower team.

According to a leak back in June, several technical issues had been giving the Cupertino firm more than the expected number of headaches. For a start, the position-agnostic design meant that AirPower needs multiple coils. These generate a fair amount of heat, too, which needs to be dissipated somehow. Meanwhile, the complexity of the charger means it actually has its own custom iOS-based brain, designed to manage the charging process.

Samsung’s strategy may not be as elegant, but it’s definitely easier. The whispers suggest Apple AirPower will go on sale in September, though Apple itself has declined to comment. As for the Samsung Wireless Charging Duo, all we’re yet to have confirmed is price.

Update: The Samsung Wireless Charging Duo is priced at $119.99.

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