Wireless charging standards sign agreement: 3 become 2 [UPDATE: WPC comments]

Feb 11, 2014

This week two of the three major wireless charging standards groups have signed an agreement which will have the two technologies be able to exist on the same device. This agreement has A4WP and PMA, aka the Alliance for Wireless Power and Power Matters Alliance, signing up to allow their two standards to work side-by-side. The odd-man-out is the WPC (Wireless Power Consortium), the group that works with Qi-standard charging.

This alliance essentially means that if a manufacturer wanted to integrate both the A4WP and PMA brands of wireless charging in their devices, they'd now only have to seek one approval rather than two. There are already devices coming out with both PMA and the WPC's Qi, but they've needed more than one approval to be put into production.

This agreement has been made with the following steps being readied:

• PMA adopts the A4WP Rezence specification as the PMA magnetic resonance charging specification for both transmitters and receivers in both single and multi-mode configurations.

• A4WP adopts the PMA inductive specification as a supported option for multi-mode inductive, magnetic resonance implementations.

• A4WP to collaborate with PMA on their open network API for network services management.

This agreement has been made with members of the board from both camps agreeing unanimously. For A4WP this includes board members from Broadcom, Gill Electronics, IDT, Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics and Samsung Electro-Mechanics. From PMA, this includes board members from Starbucks, Procter & Gamble, and Powermat Technologies.

Now that two of the three largest groups have teamed up, do you think the WPC will toss their Qi-standard in the ring as well? Take a stroll down the Qi search portal and you'll find that the WPC has been doing quite well for itself on its own so far.

UPDATE: The WPC has provided a note on the subject as well, as you'll see here:

"When there’s a dominant player like Qi in the market, it’s not surprising to see some consolidation among smaller players. In the end, only one standard will survive.

However, the announcement made by PMA and A4WP is not that they are merging groups. They both are filling gaps with technology the other didn’t have. And they both will continue to operate separately as far as we know. So in this case, one plus one doesn’t equal a better one. One plus one equals a more complicated two.

PMA, could not develop resonance in a way that worked with its inductive chargers; and PMA’s networking technique was likely attractive to A4WP. That’s not the case with A4WP optionally using PMA technology and vice versa. This type of sharing does not make things better for the consumer and likely makes it far worse because it creates more compatibility issues.

Qi innovates with resonance and networking capabilities, and there are more than 400 Qi products in the global market. The one core promise Qi makes to consumers and industry is this: When you buy Qi, you know it works today, tomorrow, and will continue to in the future, with whatever features and advances evolve." - John Perzow, Vice President of Market Development for the WPC

In other words - the WPC wont be joining this team-up any time soon!

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