Qi wireless under threat from rival Power Matters Alliance, who get another partner

Pull up to the fire, its history time. We’ve had different formats and standards fighting for relevancy as long as there has been technology. Betamax vs. VHS and HD DVD vs. Blu-Ray are some that jump out at us. Right now we’re in the midst of a battle between two standards for wireless charging – Qi from the Wireless Power Consortium and Power 2.0 from the Power Matters Alliance. If you’re rocking a Windows Phone like the Nokia Lumia 920 or the HTC 8X you’re part of the Qi bandwagon.

Any reason to worry about your standard losing out in the long run? Maybe, Power Kiss just went and joined the Power Matters Alliance.

Power Kiss (we saw them at Mobile Wold Congress) has been one of the earliest companies completely centered on wireless charging technologies. They were founded back in 2008 and launched their first product, the Ring, in 2010. The Ring is a device that you connect to your smartphone to give it the ability to wireless charge. They made different mounts for different devices. You had one with a microUSB connection for most smartphones (above), a 2mm Nokia specific one, and another for Apple devices. The company is also notable for installing their charging stations at cafes, restaurants, hotels, corporate lobbies and other places across Europe. At least 1000 places have a Power Kiss wireless charging spot and you can add select McDonalds locations to that list.

About five days ago, the company announced that they would be joining the Power Matters Alliance (PMA). That puts the Power Kiss with AT&T, Starbucks, Duracell, and others on the list of companies on the board at the PMA. Maija itkonen, CMO and Founder, states a few factors for becoming a member:

"The PMA system has a unique layer of 'Telco Grade' intelligence that allows venues to monitor the health, usage and policies of all their charging spots. Secondly, we believe the PMA now enjoys the momentum and the necessary investment from major industry players to bring wireless power to life for consumers. This makes PMA a natural choice for PowerKiss. Finally, PMA offers a trusted and truly open framework that everyone can feel comfortable adopting."

So should you be worried that Power Kiss joined the Power Matters Alliance? Yes and no. While the company joined the PMA and will be upgrading existing and future installations to be PMA compliant, they aren’t dropping support for Qi. In a tweet aimed at Nokia’s own Doug Dawson, Power Kiss stated their continued support for Qi with no plans on ditching and remaining standards agnostic. So that’s good news for Qi, but at the same time a competing standard did gain another prominent member which makes them a formidable opponent for the adoption of Qi.

Another thing to consider is Apple. Up above we mentioned the big names behind the Power Matters Alliance and their Power 2.0 initiative. But which companies are on board with Qi and the Wireless Power Consortium? Obviously Nokia and HTC, but you can add Huawei, LG Electronics, Motorola Mobility, Sony and Samsung to that list. Obviously Qi has a lot going for it at the moment, but Apple could completely change that by joining the PMA as it’s currently rumored.

It'll be interested to see how the wireless charging space plays out over this year and the following. Could two standards coexists side by side? Or will we have one clear winner?

Source: Reuters; via: Engadget; Thanks, holzlondon, for the tip!

Sam Sabri