Samsung has announced a new 10W wireless charger that tops up your phone’s battery while sterilizing the device using UV-C light. The company says the ultraviolet light can kill 99 percent of bacteria and germs, though marketing materials don’t mention whether it destroys the novel coronavirus responsible for the current global pandemic.
News of the charger first emerged last week from Samsung Thailand, but now the company has announced the product globally. Right now, we’ve seen pages for the product in Samsung’s German, Romanian, Singaporean, and Hong Kong stores. In Germany, it’s being sold for €58.38 (around $65).
The announcement comes at a time when people are particularly worried about the spread of COVID-19, and products that claim to clean your phone and stop the virus are on the rise. But, from a scientific perspective, these products can’t guarantee safety, and they’re no substitute for washing your hands, wearing a mask, and observing social distancing.
According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, UV light can “probably” kill the novel coronavirus based on the fact it can destroy other coronaviruses. But, as CNET notes, there’s a lack of published peer-reviewed studies about the effect of UV light on the specific virus that causes COVID-19.
Samsung says its dual UV lights take 10 minutes to sterilize your items from the top and bottom, after which they automatically turn off to avoid damaging your device. However, even after the UV lights have turned off, the wireless charger will continue to supply 10W of power. Samsung says the sterilizer’s internal compartment can fit any device up to 196 x 96 x 33 mm in size, so that will include most phones with a screen size of up to seven inches.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a company combine a wireless charger with a UV sterilizer. Just last month, Mophie and Invisible Shield launched their own, similar products costing $80 and $60 respectively, TechCrunch reports.
If you’re not into the idea of paying money to clean your phone, then SamMobile reports that Samsung also offers a free sanitizing service through its service centers and Experience Stores in select countries worldwide, which also rely on using UV light to clean your device.