Qi gets a wattage boost to support wireless fast charging

The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), the folks behind the Qi wireless charging standard, made a pretty big announcement. A new specification of the Qi standard now makes it possible for complying chargers to dish out 15 watts of energy. This is more than just a show of power. This figure means that wireless chargers will now be able to support fast charging, a feature that has so far been the domain of wired chargers. When implemented, this could very well strengthen the appeal of wireless charging systems in general.

Fast charging, or quick charging under some brands, is a relatively new marketing thrust by mobile device and accessory makers. While it doesn't exactly solve the problem of increasingly power hungry hardware paired with not so increasing battery capacities, it does somewhat mitigate the effect by lessening the time we need to be tethered to wall sockets. For only a few minutes of plugging in, you can get hours of usage already.

In contrast, wireless charging has been commonly perceived as slower and lower powered, limited by both physics as well as the standards that govern them. For the latter, the WPC pulled out some of the stops. By increasing the wattage capacity allowed in the specification, Qi will be able to finally support fast charging as well, putting wireless chargers on par with their wired cousins.

Of course, what the WPC released is merely a specification, although it also announced tools and test procedures that will help manufacturers check their devices and accessories for compliance. In the end, it is up to device makers to make Qi wireless fast charging a reality.

And that brings up a sore topic in this particular part of the industry. Despite the name, the Qi standard can't really be called a standard since there are more than one that claim to be wireless charging standards, each of which are incompatible with the other. And many manufacturers have taken exclusive sides. And even though A4WP and PMA have joined forces, their technologies are still not so compatible yet and it could take some time before they are able to implement a similar fast charging feature.

SOURCE: Wireless Power Consortium