Rival Wireless Charging Standards To Merge

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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A4WP and PMA formalise their partnership in order to make wireless charging a reality

Two rival wireless charging organisations are to merge in a bid to create common specifications that will increase adoption of the technology, which has been held back by a number of competing standards.

The Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) and Power Matters Alliance (PMA) will formally merge later this year following the announcement last February that they were to pool their resources in order to better compete with the Wireless Power Consortium’s Qi standard.

Qi has been used in a number of Google Nexus and Nokia Lumia devices – arguably the most visible use of wireless charging to date.

Better together

Google Nexus Wireless Charger 1Both Qi and the PMA’s PowerMat technology use the ‘induction’ method which requires a device to be placed on a charging plate, while A4WP powered systems like Qualcomm’s Reznence use ‘resonance’, which operates over a short distance and allows the charging of multiple devices or cars.

The PMA has promised to adopt A4WP for magnetic-resonant charging hardware, while A4WP will add the PMA’s inductive kit to its resonance systems, to create multi-mode wireless chargers which can charge using induction and resonance.

The merger will create a new as-yet-unnamed organisation that can count AT&T, Duracell, Samsung, Intel, Qualcomm and Starbucks among its supporters. The partners claim that a single standard will create economies of scale and encourage manufacturers, operators and retailers to commit to wireless charging.

“The ‘standards war’ narrative presents a false choice,” said Kamil Grajski, the board chair and president for A4WP. “Consider that the typical mass-market smartphone contains a multiplicity of radio technologies (Bluetooth, NFC, WiFi, 3G, LTE) each built around a vibrant ecosystem, whereas other devices are single-mode (Bluetooth headset).  The A4WP PMA merger is in the same spirit: enable the market to apply technologies to their best use cases.”

“The key to volume economics is to combine best-in-class wireless power transfer technology with innovative cloud-based network services,” added Ron Resnick, President, Power Matters Alliance.  “The best-in-breed combination of A4WP and PMA assures decision-makers throughout the industry of responsible stewardship of these essential contributing technologies.”

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