In my recent article, I addressed the size, the cost, and the performance of Energous' WattUp Mini technology. Specifically, I concluded that WattUp Mini is bigger and more expensive than the competing standard. My analysis was based on Energous' own FCC filings using the most recent information available at that time.
In an article dated 2/6/2017, Energous' CEO Stephen Rizzone seems to take an issue with my article. Mr. Rizzone says:
In one of the recent articles, they showed a diagram of a very, very early prototypical [SIC] transmitter of ours. It had a number of discrete components on it. The claim was, because of all these discrete components, that the technology would never be cost effective for the consumer. This is old, old news.
At CES we actually showed, or previewed (we have not made the announcement yet, but we will be making it soon)- we have a fully qualified IC that incorporates all of those discrete components into a single small IC
There are multiple inaccuracies in Mr. Rizzone's statement:
- My analysis was not based on early prototype (or prototypical). It is based on the only FCC approved transmitter and most recent available information at the time of writing.
- The approved transmitter had 3 ASICs. The new chip available from Energous combines microcontroller and frequency synthesizer eliminating 1 ASIC; however, as shown in Figure 1, the new transmitter architecture needs a power amplifier and a Bluetooth transceiver. Thus, the total number of ASICs is not reduced. Three ASICs + quartz crystal (XTAL) are still needed which compares to unfavorably to two ASICs needed in Qi transmitters.
Figure 1: The new ASIC (DA4100) combines microcontroller (ARM) and frequency generator (NYSE:PLL) but Bluetooth and power amplifier ASICs are still needed.
While Mr. Rizzone's statement is misleading, it is perhaps more important to note what was not said. The transmitter component count was the only technical point that Mr. Rizzone chose to address. For example, Mr. Rizzone did not address the receiver size, cost, and power output which are more important than the transmitter size and cost. Whether Mr. Rizzone intended or not, his failed rebuttal in essence validates my research on WattUp receiver size. A further validation is offered by Dialog that shows that receiver power is less than 100 mW for typical receiver and the receiver size is even larger than feared.
The most important point, however, is that Mr. Rizzone now have to defend his company in public by addressing Seeking Alpha articles. After years of empty promises, the media is finally turning critical.
Disclosure: I am/we are short WATT.