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Microsoft joins the Power Matters Alliance, the group behind the PMA wireless charging standard

Microsoft

It’s pretty easy for most of us to rib on the Power Matters Alliance (PMA). They’re the group responsible for the PMA wireless charging, a competitor to the Qi wireless standard that so many of you Windows Phone users are very familiar with. However, many technology companies are PMA members. Organizations like Huawei, BlackBerry, LG, Samsung, Qualcomm, Sony, Toshiba, AT&T and Starbucks all hold PMA membership. Guess who else just joined the PMA today? Yup, Microsoft.

Don’t freak out just yet. That doesn’t mean your next Microsoft/Nokia phone will automatically support the PMA standard. Just last month Microsoft also joined the board for the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC). That’s the group responsible for the Qi wireless charging standard. Companies routinely hold memberships of competing standards. It gives them a door to shape the standards how they want.

Here’s PMA President Ron Resnick on Microsoft joining the Power Matters Alliance:

“Microsoft is a great example of an innovative company that can help fuel adoption of the technology on a large scale in many different areas of consumer electronics. It is critical to get the industry moving in the right direction and create as many options for consumers as possible to fuel the widespread adoption of wireless charging. The goal of The PMA is to serve the industry in the best way possible. To that end, we invite industry leaders from all walks to join the organization and help define the future of wireless power delivery.”

Qi vs. PMA isn’t the last format war we’ll ever see and we’re far away from declaring a clear winner. How long do you think we have until there is a clear winner?

Source: PMA

Thanks for the tip Toni!

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Reader comments

Microsoft joins the Power Matters Alliance, the group behind the PMA wireless charging standard

173 Comments

Not quite half. Most wireless chargers after somewhere at 70-75% efficiency, not 50% as you say. The wasted efficiency is in the form of heat.

Not 50% efficiency, it's close to the same as USB charging. You can compare quite easily by using a battery app that shows the charge rate. You'll notice only a negligible difference at best

Everyone knows that the most efficient way to charge your phone is at work. And all your other devices (drills, lawn mowers, cars). Its also the best place to obtain (unwanted) office supplies.

Wireless charging is usually about as quick as USB charging, so about half the speed of charging from a mains adapter.

No, but it is getting better, and with such devices that are getting developed to charge a device that is 40 feet away is quite, well, awesome. Soon though, we won't need cables and just have our devices charge when we walk inside our homes.

This will be the thing in wireless charging. I'd like to have my phone charging while it's in my pocket.

40 ft is an absolute waste. The tree huggers will be all over that and I wouldn't blame them. The farther away you get the more inefficient it gets and the more power required... Exponentially. Nothing can be done about it. It's physics.

Green? ha!  That's funny.  

Side note:  They said the same thing about nuclear energy for decades, but now they are force to admit they were wrong.  Check out "Pandora's Promise" on Netflix.

It charges the phone faster because when I put in on the charging plate on my nightstand, the battery is at 80% instead of 30% because it's been sitting on a charger all day instead of just lying on my desk. Technical efficiency differences are nothing compared to the change in the user's behavior due to the new technology. No one is going to be willing to plug and unplug their phone all day, but with a wireless charger there's suddenly no reason not to have it charging.

The correct answer is that it depends. There are more factors that go into the efficiency question than there are with wired charging.

Well maybe it's just me, but my Lumia 920 actually charges faster on my wireless charger than when plugged in via USB. Both the wireless and the wired chargers are original Nokia chargers.

All that extra heat with the wireless charging isn't doing the battery's longevity any favors. If you intend to keep using the same battery and phone for more than 2 years, think about how the heat can impact the battery's life.

Depends on your adapter. A standard 1A charger about the same. A 2A adapter will blow wireless away. A 2A 10W or whatever the Venue 8 Pro's charger is will flat out smoke most all challengers.

We don't know. It's too early to say yes or no to that. Companies like Microsoft and Qualcomm routinely join the organizations that promote competing standards. They do it to help influence the direction of that standard. They also do it to hedge their bets and be ready for the standard that does eventually win out.

Yeah you're right Sam, but the evolution in the battery and charging department hasn't been so great in my opinion. I mean... our phones barely make it to the end of the day before dying out, and even the regular chargers don't charge that fast. We need bigger batteries and faster recharging.

You can get faster charging, not all adapters are created equal. Most chargers shipped with phones are 1A trash.

All of them. They make USB and Apple connector adapters for PMA. If your phone can charge through the USB, 30 pin, or lightning, PMA can charge it.

That's the problem though, you will always need an external case to charge the device, whereas Qi are available internally in plenty of phones.

how does PMA work??? I mean we have charging pads for Qi, but if PMA is also a wireless charging standard, how does it work? is there a phone with PMA standards which can charge wirelessly? cause ATT 1520 doesn't and it confuses me. HALP!

Ive never seen a qi product in canada & none of the phones have either of these standards that im aware of. guess the pre was the phone that killed off wireless phone charging in Canada

You can also use wireless charging with the 1020 but have to buy an adapter to put on the phone because of the camera bump.  It has to sit flat on the charger.

I can't state what most of you are. The article does not clearly state, it assumes like we all would. I made my thoughts known. I don't understand why you guys feel the need to attack so many folks instead of engaging in conversation.

I'm not against conversation but if they knew they would probably state the fact in the article rather than putting they're assumption. To me it sounds like the ot didn't bought to read the article and just came straight to ask because he was too lazy to read

Different Microsoft from those days though. Their biggest mobile partner is also aggressively supporting PMA to the point our phones were stripped of Qi charging.

I was just thinking that. Except Sony was the main company that created blu ray. Wireless charging is a new technology that is a joint effort.

Incorrect, VHS largely won because of the porn industry. But Sony originally blocked BluRay manufacturers from releasing porn material. I think Sony's large ownership rights of movie titles is what gave BluRay the winning edge.

Well, I'd say it was when WB picked Blu-Ray over HD-DVD that lost that war. Soon afterwards the biggest retailer (wal-mart) stopped selling HD-DVD players. Then Toshi conceded defeat.

wireless charging sex toys. at all coffee shops charge your dildo or pocket vaginas on our new wireless charging pads warning do not charge and play.

Only problem is when will it move from a costly niche product to something that can turn A profit for those that are producing it so they don't kill it off

Blu-Ray is a joint effort also, there were nine companies along with MIT that started it. The Blu-Ray Disc Association. Sony was one of this nine.

....... wtf.... after i just got like 4 qi charging pads...... and the $100 nokia car charging dock.... ive never really considers switching to android as my daily driver but this just pissed me off.. No one uses pma. Most people dont use wireless charging but the few that do us qi.... all previews nokia phones other than the US 1520 us qi... wtf man. I cant even find PMA charging pads on amazon. what is the dickery!

I get that its not offical that all phones will have PMA but considering that microsoft and att are both apart of this aliance it looks like I might just have to switch to verizon. bucause as much as i hope that it is not true i have a strong feeling that the 930 (when/if) it comes to att, wont have qi.

 

 

 

i dont even think you guys finished reading my comment. Im less worried about microsoft being apart of the aliance, an more worried about att. I am an att customer and It seems that verizon is a strong advocate for qi wireless charging however att decided to make the choose of taking the qi charging out of the 1520 and put in pma. My worry is that all "at&t" windows phones will have pma" Im sure that international phones and verizon phones will all still support qi.

I have a 920 and a Qi Nokia charging pad, but I must say that as far as not being able to find PMA charging pads on Amazon, that is not true.  It took me all of about seven seconds to find some....

okay let me retract what i said and elaborate. My options for pna wireless chargers are dramaticly reduced. I like having a car dock wireless charger and granted I can only find like 3 or 4 that support qi, but thats 3 or 4 more that I can find for pma. not to mention that actually flat chargers. I can find hundreds of qi flat chargers and like 4 pma ones.

Ok, I understand.  I've not really looked into PMA much at all, given I've got a Qi phone and Nokia charging pad.    I don't really know what the range of products are and I can easily understand that PMA may be more limited.

If PMA is always done as an exterior charging shell, then I am all in for Qi.   Otherwise, I'm for the most efficient.   Luckily I only have the one charging pad as of now....
 

I don't really care who wins just that one wins. I am sick of this and want the peace of mind that goes with having a universally supported format. 

Apple will no doubt use a proprietary charging method that only Apple products will have and will cost at least twice as much at the Apple store than any other wireless charger.

It's funny because you're so right about the way Apple treats its customers, but it's sad because it doesn't seem to slow down sales at all.

Well I doubt that either will become 'the standard' because it's a free world. One may be more popular, but unless they interfere with each other I don't see a reason why there couldn't be devices that support both. Just like some computers had FireWire and USB at the same time.

Will there be devices with both? Unsure. Could there be? I don't see why not.

Qi is actually in use in actual devices other than aftermarket cases.
Either PMA brings something that's quite an improvement over Qi, people go with Qi, or phones are made to be compatible with both. IMO

This is getting more complicated. Uness Microsoft decides to focus on one standard, I don't see any new Lumia phones with wireless charging at all, until a standard is defined. Whatever Apple decides to go with in the future, will become the standard I guess.
 

As sad as it is... bingo. Apple is probably one of the biggest companies that can change the future of this debate.

That's nice. What if, Microsoft will do its own research make wireless charging capable Lumias who can adopt to both standards. You go out to the market, buy any wireless charger (either Qi or PMA) and it will be completely compatible with your Lumia. Oh that would be a great joy!

One word, ATT - I would bet that the powers to be at MS want ATT on their side for WP and Qi just wasn't it.  Either is fine with me, I just hope one comes out on top soon.  I'm to old to go through yet another standards war.

I wish the European Union ruled in this like they recently did on the chargers plug format.
Want to sell phones in Europe?! Have it charging wirelessly or bugger off, and I couldn't care less if its qi, pma, UFO or soduku.

isn't PMA cheaper I saw a PMA pad for 40 dollars and its big, don't know if its capable of charging 2 devices at the same time but you could fit 2 lumia 920's.

I don't care if it's PMA...as long as it doesn't require a "case" to charge, like PMA currently does. That is why I was in the Qi camp (no case needed). So, if PMA wins the battle...which it looks like it very well may with Samsung and Microsoft behind them...I pray they ditch the dumb "case".

Who is going to win the wireless charging format war?  The format that comes built in most new cars.  The investment in a car is big enough that people might choose their phone based on which one is built in.  If most car companies standardize on one format, that format wins.

For me, I dream of the day that I can slip my phone is some sort of slot in the car and it charges while the car gives me full control of my phone via Bluetooth.

I don't care about pma. But I care about about qi because its built into the phone and doesn't require a snap on part that costs the consumers extra!. IF pma gets built in and the wireless charger comes with the phone like the l920 did then so be it. But until then I will avoid pma at all costs.

Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi Qi.

Now, while I am a fan of microsoft, I don't always agree with their decisions. I think they should have stuck with Qi, BUT it makes sense since AT&T forced nokia to use PMA (via shell) instead of Qi on the 1520. I still think Qi, a standard used on more devices, should be used.

I remember the Beta vs VHS war,  got burned in the BluRay vs HDDVD war, and losing the Plasma vs LCD TV war.  I think I will sit this one out, keep my money and wait for Solar Charging.   C'Mon Elon! err Stephen eerr Joe!

I've already bought into Qi, it will be some time before I'd be willing to switch to PMA. Only after Nokia makes all the PMA versions of its accessories and it becomes difficult to get a Qi Lumia in the US would I consider it. PMA looks to be years off from catching up to Qi.

P.S. wireless HAS toBUILT IN.Ditto Lumia 920 l firmly believe AT&T would have sold three or four times as many Lumia 1520s if they had not neutered Nokia's original specs on both Qi and memory, I know it's the perfect phone for me as originally designed, but I ended up passing on it because of what At&T did to it !!!

As much as I appreciate the fact that my 920 has wireless charging built in, I hardly ever use it anymore and could probably live without it. That said I am more concerned about OEMs and carriers stripping features out of some devices, like SD cards, Glance, and storage space! 16 GB should not even be an option on flagship phones in 2014 and going forward!! When is this going to stop?

Me too. While I used to like it, and prefer Qi, I don't use it anymore, as I want a faster charge. And I can't really use my phone when it is on the wireless charging pad, while a regular cable I can.

How ever as long as a standard comes along, as I own QI phone and have 2 chargers, I want QI to win but when it comes down to it, if the next phone, device or what ever supports a new standard, then I have to replace my chargers.... Is it really that big of a deal if it does get changed ?

Qi is the winner easily. I've had a pma case on both my 925 and 1020...its like turning your phone into a brick opposed to the slim fit cases for Qi charging.

Yeah, i dont get why we say there is no winner yet. Devices only ship with Qi. No device ships with PMA. PMA is a 3rd party add-on that only still exists because they got some big names like ATT and Starbucks to sign up.

If the headline:

"Microsoft, Samsung, LG, and Apple announce their desires to end USB standards...." ever rears it's ugly head, I will be worried. Until then, I will wait 2 generations and see if either of these standards ever take off.

All I remember is reviewers whining about how heavy the 920 was with Qi built in. Now the complaint is PMA is not built in. Will either take off?

Qi won... It is in my home, in my car, and at work. Not switching out any chargers sorry. Yes for some people Qi is a killer feature, and no I would not buy another phone without it

It seems to me they are joining because the purchase of Nokia is almost complete and they were a member of both (Qi because thats what they were backing and PMA because of AT&T influence I'd say).

 

It makes sense they would join rather than have the competition define what could be the next standard without any input.

Qi is a clear winner for me. Never heard of PMA until I read about it in an article here (about a year ago I guess). And as far as I know PMA chargers are nowhere to be found in Sweden, only Qi.

www.bigfunmarket.com welcomes this news as Big Fun Market sells Powermat (PMA standard) compatible receivers for Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Note 2, S4, S3 and also Powermat chargering mats and Qi chargers at discount worldwide.

Oh great now the next Lumia devices will either need wireless charging shells and may not be Qi compatible if wireless charging is integrated.

The problem with wireless charging is it heats up the battery shortening it's life. Until that changes I'll stick with USB charging.

"create as many options for consumers as possible"
NO! Remember back in the day where every phone had a different plug connector and you had to re-buy all of your plugs and car chargers to match the BVC164869 model adapter? Yea, that sucked. We do not need "as many options as possible" (translation: We need ppl to buy all new wireless chargers with every new phone so we can make our CEOs even richer while simultaneously destroying the environment to an even greater degree).

At this point in wireless charging technology's development, I really don't care much. It still seems more gimmicky than practical to me right now and taking the two seconds to simply plug in a cable is more reliable. Wake me when they finally settle on a format and then I may show interest.