Dialog Semiconductor plc announced a strategic investment in Energous Corporation, the developer of WattUp®, a wire-free charging technology that provides over-the-air power at a distance. Dialog has agreed to make a $10 million investment in Energous and become the exclusive component supplier of the WattUp integrated circuits (ICs), while Energous is able to leverage Dialog’s broad sales and distribution channels to accelerate market adoption.
Energous' WattUp technology provides a unique and more extensive wireless charging experience compared to traditional coil-based technologies. By sending energy safely through the air using radio frequencies, WattUp is able to deliver intelligent, scalable power in a similar way to a Wi-Fi router. WattUp differs from inductive or resonant wireless charging systems in that it delivers power at a distance, to multiple devices, in any orientation, resulting in a wire-free experience that has the ability to transform the way consumers and industries charge and power electronic devices at home, in the office, in the car and beyond.
The partnership combines Energous' uncoupled wireless charging technology and Dialog's power saving technologies to drive market expansion. Energous' WattUp technology uses Dialog's SmartBond® Bluetooth low energy solution as the out-of-band communications channel between the wireless transmitter and receiver. Dialog's power management technology is then used to distribute power from the WattUp receiver IC to the rest of the device while Dialog's ac-dc Rapid Charge power conversion technology efficiently delivers power to the wireless transmitter.
WattUp uses small form factor antennas that are formed using the existing device's printed circuit board, removing the need for larger, more expensive coils used in competing solutions today. This enables broader adoption of wireless charging in a larger range of battery-powered devices, such as smartphones, tablets, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, small form factor wearables, and Virtual Reality (VR)/Augmented Reality (AR) devices. Accelerated sales growth will be achieved by leveraging Dialog's strength in delivering volume and tier one customer access.
"This partnership brings two very complementary companies closer together, creating numerous benefits," said Stephen R. Rizzone, President and CEO, Energous. "Energous is pleased to be able to leverage Dialog's decades of experience in power-saving technologies as well as its robust sales channel, long term strategic relationships and world-class fab and backend operations. Working together, we will be able to accelerate the adoption of the WattUp technology and reshape the way electronic devices are charged."
"Partnering with a top tier semiconductor company like Dialog also represents a strong validation for Energous as we prepare to launch WattUp-enabled consumer products with our licensees in early 2017," added Rizzone.
"Energous' WattUp technology can be thought of as wireless charging 2.0, and delivers a wireless charging experience that is much closer to what consumers desire by charging devices close up and at a distance, while in use and without compromising product design or adding excessive cost," said Mark Tyndall, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Strategy, Dialog Semiconductor. "This alliance means that Dialog is able to more closely align our complementary technologies, supply chain and global sales resources to accelerate the deployment of Energous' WattUp wireless transmitter and receiver technology while expanding our innovative use cases and market share."
The strategic investment includes positive tactical and strategic implications that will aggressively speed up customer adoption of WattUp-enabled products and streamline chip production. Benefits of the agreement include joint marketing and sales operations, including access to Dialog's channel partners and access to Dialog's customer base to accelerate the adoption of WattUp in smartphone, automotive and emerging IoT applications.
Dialog will be showcasing Energous' WattUp technology at CES from January 5-8, 2017 in its private demo suite with lead customers expected to be in production from first half 2017.