Samsung and Microsoft join board of Qi wireless charging consortium

March 11, 2014
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Samsung-Galaxy-S3-Wireless-Charging-Kit 1

It looks like we are seeing the beginning of the end of the wireless charging wars. At the moment the Qi wireless charging specification is the de facto standard because it is about the only one which actually has any devices that support the technology. However there are in fact three different wireless standards which were all competing against each other. However it appears that the Qi specification will likely become the sole standard as Microsoft and Samsung Electro-Mechanics have joined the board of the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), the group responsible for the standard.

Microsoft and Samsung will take leading roles in the supporting the further adoption Qi.

Samsung is actually a founding member the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) along with Qualcomm and Powermat Technologies. However Powermat Technologies is also a founding member of the Power Matters Alliance (PMA). Other members of the PMA include Toshiba, Pantech and ZTE. During the latter part of last year Qualcomm joined the WPC and Samsung invested in a company called PowerbyProxi. Its investment in PowerbyProxi was seen as a move by Samsung to buy an interest in the next extensions to the Qi standard since Tony Francesca, a VP at PowerbyProxi, had been appointed chairman of the WPC task force that is designing a wireless power resonant extension to the Qi specification.

According to a statement released by the WPC, Microsoft and Samsung will take leading roles in supporting the further adoption Qi.

Microsoft and Samsung Electro-Mechanics are important players in furthering Qi's adoption in more devices, cars, products, and places.
John Perzow, Vice President of Market Development at WPC

The WPC’s membership has significantly grown over the past few months with the ZTE Corporation and others joining the Consortium. Toshiba and Pantech are also WPC members. The group also has lots of support from the various mobile carriers around the world including Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, China Mobile, NTT DoCoMo, O2, and Telefonica. At present consumers can choose from over 60 mobile phones and tablets that in one way or another support Qi. The list includes the Samsung Galaxy S5, S4, and S3; the LG Google Nexus 4; the Google Nexus 7; the Nokia Lumia 1520 and 1020; the LG Optimus G Pro; and the HTC Droid DNA.

If the A4WP and the PMA are now passing into history then it seems that we could see the emergence of a definitive standard that will allow wireless charging to become a norm in a variety of public places from coffee shops to airport lounges.

What do you think, is Qi now going to become the unchallenged wireless charging specification?

Comments

  • MasterMuffin

    I don’t see why Qi is becoming the standard? I thought there were better options (though the best options don’t always become standards)

    • Shark Bait

      Totally agree, I use qi with my N5, and it works pretty well. But A4WP looks much better to me

  • John Hamernick-Ramseier

    I can see a day when everything is wirelessly charged TVs refrigerators freezers dishwashers vaccuums all appliances and even electric cars, then roads and/or parking lots could charge the car. Imagine a house that is completely wireless with WiFi and wireless electricity (I also can see them making adapters were if you have a appliance that plugs into the wall you plug into the adapter to get your wireless electricity). I’m just thinking past mobile and how this technology could change thing.

    • Jason Yuen

      I don’t think wide area wireless power can be as great as that. There will always be the issue of theft. How do you prevent your neighbor from leeching off your power bill? Insulate your house with metal plates? Somehow encrypt energy flowing through the air so that it only works on authorized devices? I think it won’t become as great as you (and I) want it to be until we have ultra cheap renewable energy.

  • Lisandro O Oocks

    I don’t think MS had a choice. Pretty much all Nokia phones have Qi charging. But is nice to see Samsung finally getting on board, hopefully with this the chargers will come down in price.

    • Jason Yuen

      Samsung always had their foot in both standards. More in Qi if you ask me seeing how their flagship phones since the S3 had Qi accessories sold with it. Or at least have the capability for it.

  • Jason Yuen

    I don’t see why there needs to be a single wireless charging standard. There are uses for both Qi and A4WP. Really, the only thing that should be standardized is the voltage and current. Do what Samsung is doing now by putting contact pins in the back of the phone that can be used with any wireless charing receiver. It would just be a matter of buying the correct backplate.