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Wireless Power Consortium interview: Qi2 is all about interoperability
At CES 2023, we had the pleasure of talking to Paul Struhsaker, the Marketing Director at the Wireless Power Consortium. The conversation revolved around the new Qi2 wireless charging standard. We discussed what makes it different from the previous standard and how fast it is.
Mr. Struhsaker also talked about when the technology will hit the market and a lot more. You can read a brief overview of the interview below or check out the whole thing in the video above.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit more about the new Qi2 wireless charging standard?
A: Qi2 is the final global unification of consumer wireless charging, especially around cell phones, earbuds and, in the future, watches as well.
So the worlds of Apple, Samsung, HUAWEI, and OPPO can finally all coalesce into a single unified standard for the globe, which will make charging a lot easier in your car and at home.
Q: What exactly differentiates Qi2 from the previous standard?
A: First and foremost, efficiency. The new standard is a lot more efficient at energy transfer. Regulatory agencies around the world are starting to say that we need to make sure wireless energy transfer approaches wired, and that’s exactly what Q2 gets you.
Qi2 is all about efficiency, authentication, and interoperability.
The second thing is authentication. As you know, in any industry, there are a lot of counterfeit products. Transferring power can damage your device, and the last thing you want is for your thousand-dollar smartphone to get damaged by a $20 charger. That’s why we have an authentication process to make sure only approved chargers talk to approved receivers — phones.
And the last thing is interoperability, which we already talked about in the previous question.
Q: So does that mean all products that will work with Qi2 will have to be certified?
A: Yes, all Qi2 devices will require verification and authentication. We’ll also be enforcing our logo on these devices, which is something we didn’t do in the past. This means that when we find people promoting their products as Qi2 compatible on websites like JD.com or Amazon.com, we can get them delisted if they are not verified and authenticated.
That’s just one of the things that makes a standard. A standard is based on three things. One is quality — you need quality to have any kind of standard that’s worth anything. The second thing is promotion, which is what you and I are doing here. And the third thing is enforcement, because if you don’t sit down and enforce your brand, what kind of brand do you have.
Q: So the key benefits you mentioned are safety and convenience. What else can consumers expect to see when moving from Qi to Qi2?
A: Well, first of all, faster charging. Not only does Qi2 have more efficient charging, but it also has a higher amount of energy that can be transferred consistently.
The other thing is safety. There are a lot of products out there that aren’t Qi certified and use high-power rapid charging that can reduce the battery life of a device like a phone. Qi2 is different because it’s designed to be much more efficient in maximizing energy transfer.
Q: The charging speed of Qi2 is still 15W. Can we expect that to increase once more brands adopt the standard and you have time to put a little more research into increasing speed while still maintaining safety?
A: Yes. We can expect what’s called fast charging in about 18 months or so. It will be called Qi2.1, and along with it, we’ll see improvements necessary to ensure high-power charging is safe. At that time, our new standard will also be able to approach other devices out there.
Tablets are one example, which could use more charging power, but again, we’re going step by step to make sure the technology is safe and that there are no issues. We don’t want to jump the gun.
Q: We know that Qi2 is going to expand outside of smartphones. How do you see it adopting wearables with their proprietary connectors?
A: Well, most of the earbuds cases out there will be built to be compliant with Qi2. Watches are a little different, though.
One of the things on our roadmap is to figure out how to handle this crazy world of smartwatches and how to get all the major players in a room and agree on a standard. This is something we’ll be working on in the near future.
Q: When will we start to see Qi2 products on the market?
A: We believe that the first ones are going to be out for the 2023 holiday season, and then they’ll dominate the market in 2024.
We also have a new cordless kitchen standard called Ki, which will come out in 2025. The standard will be able to send power through your countertop and eliminate wires in your kitchen. Of course, the whole thing will start with high-end appliances, just like wireless charging was limited to high-end phones at first.
This is just a quick overview of the conversation we had with Paul Struhsaker from the Wireless Power Consortium. If you want to learn more, check out the video at the top of the page.