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Look Out, USB Chargers. Your Days Are Numbered. Just as Wi-Fi killed Ethernet cables, wireless charging is poised to change everything -- from smartphones to real estate.

By Michael Frank

This story appears in the December 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Dan Forbes

This article is part of our Trends 2016 coverage.

When Wi-Fi gained dominance over the Ethernet cable, it obviated the need to plug in for an internet connection. So have you ever wondered why device charging still largely relies on USB cords?

With the rise of wireless charging, that is starting to change. Here's how it works: There's a base, connected by wire to an electrical outlet, with a magnetic field that varies constantly. That variance vibrates a receiver in the device, powering the battery. Plop your phone down on a desk with such a base, and it automatically charges.

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