Apple’s embrace of wireless charging for its new Watch may be a defining moment for a technology that's languished for years amid competing standards and consumer confusion. Supporters of wireless charging see a future where people no longer worry about topping up their gadgets; are free from tangled power cords and low-battery warnings and where terms like "outlet" and "plugged in" will be as anachronistic as "dialing" a phone. Users seem to like the idea too: in a recent survey by technology consultancy IHS, 83 percent were interested in wireless charging. But, while the technology is largely there to do this, competition to set a global standard is getting in the way of delivery. It's reminiscent of the Betamax vs VHS videotape wars of three or four decades ago, or the more recent battle between Blu-ray and HD DVD for supremacy in high definition optical disc format. Last year, fewer than 20 million phones were shipped with wireless charging built in, according to IHS -- less than 2 percent of the billion smartphones shipped around the world.
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