How are WPAN (wireless connections to local devices) doing?

Miracast

Google seems to be actively deprecating Miracast via Android. Although third-party apps can add Miracast back on for local files, I don’t use them because I don’t use apps in general. 2015 devices were picking Miracast up, but then with streaming rather than mirroring HDMI dongles taking hold, Android devices starting with Android 6 seemed to stop supporting Miracast. This is sad because I have found Miracast to be more robust than Chromecast’s proprietary screen mirroring–Chromecast streaming works pretty well.

WiGig

Reports are that the first generation technologies are going proprietary. You need a device and monitor from the same manufacturer to work together.

Wireless charging

I was initially enthusiastic about Qi in 2014, but having used it with a couple phones, I didn’t mind when the Google Pixel omitted wireless charging. Having been spoiled by 20 minute return to 50% battery power from USB-PD at 18 watts, a 2-3 watt charge from Qi taking several hours was not so exciting. Given better battery life from Android 7, I only need to charge every other day, for an hour or less.

I think there are two places where wireless charging is useful

  1. driving on hour+ trips where using Android Auto or Navigation
  2. overnight bedside

Some might argue for airport/train station/coffeeshop wireless charging, but think of the average dwell time. Wouldn’t you rather get a 50% charge in 20 minutes from USB-PD wired versus a multi-hour trickle charge from wireless? For me, USB-PD is the clear winner for travel.

USB high-rate charging

Qualcomm Quick Charge filled the gap left by the USB-IF, who belatedly got the USB-PD standard going. Quick Charge modifies Vbus voltage using legacy USB connectors, while USB-PD is for USB-C using extra pins for voltages above 5V.

I think USB-PD is a better standard, but better being the enemy of the good, Google has had to frighten OEMs into going USB-C with a recommendation and possible future mandate of USB-PD and hence USB-C for Android. Apple has brought USB-C / USB-PD to Mac laptops, which will certainly help expedite a global transition to USB-C/USB-PD. Third parties are bringing their own high power 65 watt chargers to market, including for non-USB-C laptops since many legacy laptops charge near 20 volts.

A big wish of mine is that top-end workstation laptops would support a fallback to USB-PD so that you wouldn’t have to carry the big charger, but you would require a 100 Watt USB-PD, which might be rare for some time. Big workstation laptop need 150-250 Watts, with the biggest powerhouse laptops requiring a 330 watt adapter, which is to feed the CPU and especially GPU at full blast. What we workstation laptop users do is buy multiple power adapters and leave them where we work.

Wireless mouse

Bluetooth Low Energy mice are too rare, as the 12-18 month battery life mice are using the Logitech Unifying standard, which requires a dongle. Logitech should get a service profile for their standard or get BLE mice working. They haven’t, and Unifying dongles probably don’t have a huge profit margin, so there must have been some limiting factor in BLE?

Bluetooth WPAN phone to PC

This just doesn’t work on Windows at all, at least to Android devices. It does work fine from Linux, tethering internet from an Android phone, sharing files, using PC speakers to playback phone sound–all great under Linux on same PC hardware that will hardly pair on Windows.

MoCA Ethernet over coax

MoCA made some great headway in 2016, and people in the know should be networking multiple Wifi routers using MoCA or direct Ethernet, even Powerline Ethernet instead of mesh in general.

Bluetooth multipoint

More and more audio devices have Bluetooth multipoint, which allows simultaneous connections of an audio sink to multiple sources. This is something I demand from every device I get, having been delighted with Bluetooth multipoint in the Soundblaster Roar2.