Microsoft And Samsung Back Qi Wireless Charging Standard

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Qi secures major Windows Phone and Android support as it seeks to establish itself as industy wireless charging standard

Microsoft and Samsung have both announced they are supporting the Qi standard of wireless charging as the race to create an industry standard for the mobile industry continues.

Windows Phone developer and Surface tablet manufacturer Microsoft has said it will look into include the Qi ‘induction’ charging method developed by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) in future devices. This should include any future devices from Nokia, whose handsets already use Qi technology, following Microsoft’s pending acquisition of the Finnish manufacturer’s device business.

Samsung’s declaration of support is perhaps more surprising, as it had previously been a founder member of the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) –  Qi’s main rival in the past. The company recently announced that its new flagship Galaxy S5 handset would come with a wireless charging pad, meaning millions of users will soon be able to experience the technology first-hand.

Greater reach

qi wireless charging

“Microsoft and Samsung Electro-Mechanics are important players in furthering Qi’s adoption in more devices, cars, products, and places”, said WPC vice president of Market Development John Perzow.

“Qi leads the way in wireless charging with the fastest advances in inductive and resonance technology while ensuring compatibility with the entire 40+ million strong Qi ecosystem. That means that today and tomorrow, Qi products will continue to have the best features and will always work at any Qi charging spot, in the home, office, car and public locations.”

Microsoft and Samsung’s declarations mean Qi now has the support of the world’s largest Android and Windows Phone manufacturers as it seeks to bring wireless charging into everyday life. The WPC already has existing partnerships with companies in a wide range of sectors, from Ikea to Toyota to Google, whose Nexus tablets include Qi technology.

Strong competition

Wireless charging could become an important part of the technology industry as it moves towards building an Internet of Things (IoT) consisting of devices connecting to each other and a wider network as a whole, with research by Ericsson suggesting that this network could reach 50 billion by 2020.

Qi’s major opposition comes from the Rezenece technology developed by the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP). The latter focuses more on resonance technology, whereby a charger sends out signals which operate over a short distance and allow the charging of multiple devices and even cars. Last month, the A4WP announced it was merging with another major player in the wireless charging industry, the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) to take the fight to the WPC, with their new partnership allowing the creation of multi-mode wireless chargers which can charge using induction and resonance.

The PMA’s technology is already present in some shops and restaurants, with the group working on getting charging stations installed through deals with outlets such as Starbucks, along with an app and a cloud-based service for finding charging stations. The two groups will both use and develop the PMA’s cloud services, and its open network API for network services management as they continue the battle against Qi’s technology.

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Author: Mike Moore
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