PopSockets wireless charging
The world's best performing Qi charger

PopSockets Wireless Charging

PopSockets Partners with NuCurrent to Launch the World’s Most Innovative Wireless Charging Solution

Leading mobile accessories brand PopSockets has seen tremendous growth in just a few years, landing them the #2 position on Inc. Magazine’s 2018 list of the 5,000 fastest growing companies. As mobile phones become larger and more difficult to manage, its eye-catching grip enhancers have become almost ubiquitous — including the flagship PopGrips product, which sells more than 100M units annually around the world.

Challenge

Mobile phone users are increasingly embracing wireless charging technology. However, in order to charge safely and comply with Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) and Qi standards, the maximum separation between the transmitter coil (in the charger) and the receiver coil (in the phone) was previously limited to just 5mm. 

As a result, traditional wireless charging pads and docks are incompatible with PopSockets grips. Accessories like PopSockets — and even thick phone cases — create additional separation between the phone and charger, making wireless charging ineffective while the grip is attached. And unfortunately, repeated removal of the PopSockets grip weakens the adhesive, making it more likely to fall off.

PopSockets internal innovation team, PopLabs, identified an opportunity to develop PopSockets wireless charging for users of their PopGrips product. But as a relatively new company primarily focused on plastics manufacturing, they lacked the internal expertise to break into the electronics space.

As a young company that’s trying to get into its first electronics product, we had a couple of avenues that we could choose from. We reached out to NuCurrent because they’re one of the leaders in wireless power. It’s like bringing on a full electrical engineering team instantly.

Judd Nutting, Director of Engineering, PopLabs

Solution

PopSockets partnered with NuCurrent to design and develop a Qi-certified wireless charger that works in conjunction with PopSocket grips. Working as an extension of the PopSockets R&D team, NuCurrent’s elite team of engineers applied their wireless power expertise to the issue.

NuCurrent also introduced the PopSockets team to an electronics manufacturing partner, to ensure the new product would be in-market as quickly as possible. 

Within 17 months of kicking off the project, they were able to:

Innovative Design

Design a new wireless transmitter architecture, called MP-A17, which extends the maximum allowable distance between the phone and charger from 5mm to 15mm;

Standards Development

Advance the new design through the WPC standards committee — a process that would be daunting for a new electronics manufacturer with no prior experience in wireless power; and

Highest Lifetime Value

Develop an innovative “drop-and-go” product design, with a donut-like recess in the center to accommodate the PopSockets grip and keep the phone ideally positioned while charging.

“Engaging with [NuCurrent] was a great experience. Not only do they have awesome engineers and a great company, the people are really fun to work with.”

Judd Nutting, Director of Engineering, PopLabs

Results

The PopPower Home Charger launched at CES in January 2020, receiving tremendous acclaim from outlets like CNN, TechCrunch, HowToGeek, and many others. The product’s initial run sold out in a matter of days. 

The PopPower charger is Qi-certified, making it compatible with all wireless charging-enabled devices. Its innovative donut-like design works with or without a PopSocket grip, while ensuring stable, continuous alignment with the charging coil. It can also deliver wireless power to phones with a thick protective case, as well as wireless headphones that support Qi. And because it supports extended power profile (EPP) charging, it can deliver up to 15 watts of charging power for lightning-fast charging times. 

In addition, NuCurrent’s MP-A17 transmitter design is now available to all of the wireless technology industry. This improved design will allow for more flexible charging positioning and faster charging speeds in many other applications, leading to more innovative designs and better overall user experience.