What you missed at CES 2018: Fast & wireless charging, Bluetooth, smart homes and GaN

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What you missed at CES 2018: Fast & wireless charging, Bluetooth, smart homes and GaN

And, we’re back! Suffice it to say, 2018 started with a bang – as it does every year – with CES 2018, a crazy and busy time for us at Dialog, but an exciting one to be sure. We got to spend a week at The Venetian to show off a slew of exciting new products and features that Dialog has rolled out recently and will be focusing on intensely for 2018, and beyond.

Whether you weren’t able to attend and are feeling some serious FOMO over it, or you did stop by but weren’t able to see everything we had to offer across the week, here’s a rundown of some of the biggest and coolest things we brought to CES this year.

Fast & wireless charging was the talk of the town

By far, the biggest conversation starters, and the ones that grabbed the most attention at our demo suite, were the fast and wireless charging products on display.

Wireless charging was generating a ton of buzz, thanks to the WattUp designs provided by our partners at Energous – who just recently announced FCC certification for their Mid Field WattUp transmitter, marking the first time the FCC has ever certified a power-at-a-distance transmitter under its Part 18 rules.

Attendees got to see firsthand how effortlessly their devices could be charged as long as they were within range of an adapter. And to illustrate that, we provided a remote control with a green LED embedded, that would flash on whenever the remote was in charging range.

Unlike the charging mats you might see in Starbucks, Energous WattUp adapters don’t require you to lay your device down in any specific way in order to receive the signal. As long as it’s in range, it’ll charge.

But, wireless charging wasn’t the only charging feature turning heads at the Dialog suite. Last month, Dialog announced that our RapidCharge™ chipset, which supports HUAWEI’s SuperCharge protocol, was being integrated into HUAWEI’s line of Mate 10 smartphone adapters. That integration allows HUAWEI adapters to charge devices from 1 percent to 58 percent in just a half hour. Dialog’s iW631 RapidCharge interface IC utilizes a secondary-to-primary digital communication link signal and built-in decoder to dynamically scale the adapter’s output voltage regulation and output current limit. That allows for a streamlined, simplified cost-efficient design, bringing overall efficiency up to nearly 90 percent and drastically reducing the size of the adapter.

The buzz around Bluetooth in the smart home

It should also probably come as no surprise that Bluetooth, and its smart home applications, were major points of interest for attendees, too. We showcased how the Dialog SmartBond™ DA14680 could be integrated into devices supporting digital assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and enable connectivity between these devices. Potential use cases run the gamut from Eve’s smart plugs, smart window sensors, smart smoke detectors and smart light switches to August’s smart locks – all tied together through Dialog-supported Bluetooth low-energy connectivity. 

The SmartBond™ DA14580 was also on display, integrated with MicroOLED heads-up display (HUD) glasses that can connect to your phone. Together, the Dialog chipset and HUD smart glasses allow wearers to have data on their walking, running, biking, etc. at any given time displayed right on the inside of their glasses. It may sound like sci-fi, but with Dialog’s support, it’s not only real, it’s happening now.

Cutting power adapter size in half with GaN

Last but certainly not least, GaN also made a big splash at our CES demo suite, where visitors got a firsthand look at just how much more compact and efficient power adapters could become thanks to GaN.

By integrating GaN power IC technology, consumer power adapter engineers stand to shrink the size of their adapters by 50 percent – half the size, but with exactly the same amount of a charge as a regular-sized adapter.

That’s a big deal for two reasons. If you can squeeze that much power into a half-sized adapter, that means you can create both smaller, more power-efficient adapters and increase the amount of charge available in regular-sized adapters.

CES 2018 was just the tip of iceberg for what Dialog has in store for this year and beyond. Stay tuned for more exciting developments on fast and wireless charging, Bluetooth and BLE smart home applications, and GaN’s role in shrinking the size of power adapters.