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!

  • I thought Qi was the standard
  • It's a standard, but there is another. Qi has the early-adoption down but PMA is getting some big partners now.
  • What impact would that have? Say if apple joined?
  • I think Apple would make their own proprietary charging standard called iCharge and Engadget will celebrate this new feature called "wiresless charging" which is exclusive to iDevices.
  • I think theverge would be the one "celebrating"...engadget is pretty much neutral these days since Josh, Nilay and those others left Engadget
  • ^^^
  • Apple has the money, loyal fans, and widespread useage to make anything a standard even if it was worse than alternatives.
  • http://www.phonearena.com/news/The-Samsung-Galaxy-S-4-wont-be-the-years-...
    Vote your nokia lumia 920
  • So what? Their electricity is not the same as Qi? It bends time so you don't have to wait for it to charge?
  • No. Not even close. 

    Remember how Blu-ray and HDDVD were both high defintion formats for discs, but incompatible? Samething here with Qi and Power 2.0. While they both do wireless charging, they are not sympatico. 
  • "The PMA system [...] that allows venues to monitor the health, usage and policies of all their charging spots." I believe that is the big deal. "All the better to track you...I mean help you charge your device" says AT&T in grandma's bed robe.
  • It makes sense that Apple would choose the "other" standard. It also makes sense they will come up with their own deriviation that forces others to pay them some licensing to use it. While a couple of years ago any standard Apple chooses could win, it's not the case rigfht now.
    If the Android OEMs keep using Qi, that will be the standard. Just like micro USB is the standard for chargers. and just ilke micro USB, it will be a shock if Apple adopted what everybody else was using
  • Actually the European Union made a Law that Micro USB was going to be the Standard about 4 years ago.
  • Apple got exempt from that law. Apple just has to include a micro HD adaptor with all new iPhones.
  • Not a Law, more like an gentlemans agreedment with Handset makers....
  • if Apple backs PMA it will be for nothing but malevolent intent.
  • Malevolence doesn't necessarily mean profits, which is the only impetus allowable in a publicly traded corporation. Don't be silly, Apple will do whatever makes them the most money, plain and simple.
  • Is not Verizon behind Qi?
  • Verizon? Certainly not. 
    it was developed by multiple companies like Royal Philips Electronics,  Sanyo Electric, Shenzhen Sang Fei Consumer Communications and couple of others.
    Just like WiFI with Nokia example owning much of the patents, but they are marked as standard essential. 
  • I think he was asking if Verizon supported Qi...
  • Yes, Verizon is a member of the Wireless Power Consortium - the dudes and gals behind the Qi standard. 
  • Apple will create their own standard and come up with some bs reasons why it is superior so they can charge their customers more money. Tis the apple way. It would be great to see QI succeed, but as long as Nokia (and other companies which stay on the WP bandwagon) succeed, then we will have enough QI products to meet our needs
  • Apple goes PMA and buys them to make their "own" standard.  You heard it here first. =)  (I really don't know, but it seems like a move Apple might make.)
  • It will be interesting to see which standard wins. Samsung and HTC supporting Qi is important. Get all the major car manufacturers to support Qi and you've given yourself the edge. With that being said I want to know what are the major advantages to PMA. It sounds more like Duracell wants to get a bigger piece of the profit by supporting the standard that requires you to buy more hardware to accomplish Wireless charging.
  • Somebody I know whom is involved in designing car components has stated that wireless charging will be in most cars in less than five years. Qi is the standard they mentioned being used.
  • If the majority of car manufacturers use Qi, then that should be the winner.
  • It would be nice if Apple made a car, so that all the iSheople could pass away in those death traps. Too much? ;-)
  • In time, there will only be 1. Which? Who knows?
  • Doesn't Toyota use Qi standard in their 2013 Avalon? That means Toyota will be adopting Qi standard for their entire fleet.
  • Does the HTC 8X have wireless charging? I know the 920 does
  • The Verizon variant does.
  • One wireless charging will rule them all. Which one? We will know later!
  • I'm not sure it really matters which side wins. Future Nokia handsets will be fitted with the "winning" standard. Only someone that goes out and spends a lot of money outfitting their home, car and office with the "losing" standard will be the loser. By the time one becomes a winner, we'll all be looking at new Nokia models. A lot of the people with 920s got them at AT&T along with a "free" (yes, I know I have to many air quotes) wireless charger, so we didn't necessarily pay extra.
    That's the worst case scenario in my mind. There still a good chance that Qi wil be put into vehicles and to me that's the biggest application (next to the nightstand at home). We change phones a lot more frequently than we change video playing appliances.
  • Theyre not air quotes when its written. Its just quotationmarks.
  • "They're," "it's."
  • Jfmanzo: I know. Surely you see the difference.
  • Yes, you are correct. I also had several typos (for example the 'to' should be 'too' in that sentence). Thanks.
  • Isn't Nokia trying solar?
  • Somehow I don't think Apple will force an issue with MS. Not this time. They will create havoc for android though.
  • I've heard of MMA and PMS, but never PMA. So what, if any, devices on the market use PMA?
  • I guess I don't care. After there is one to rule them all, I will have a new device. I currently own two HP Touchpads and 3 HD-DVD players that still work perfectly.
  • I've still got my Laser Disc player, HD-DVD player, a Pre 2, Pre +, and TouchPad. So if that is any indication, Qi won't last... I seem to always get the short end of the stick.
  • While this news is all fun and giggles, you shouldn't rule out QI so quickly. Sure, some companies went to the opposition, but Samsung has implemented the QI wireless charging in the SGS4 (not both versions of the S4, but still). So sure Apple could go PMA but there are way more SGS devices sold then iPhones (of which the older versions without the wireless charging will be popular for a while too), so even if Apple moves away, it doesn't really matter.
    Currently there aren't any phones available which feature PMA as far as i can see. They all have accessories that need to be plugged in before you can wirelessly charge. That doesn't really look like a big deal to me. Having in it in the phone without any problems is way better then having to put a ring on it (lol).
  • It could be microUSB is to Qi, as Apple is to whatever Apple does. 
  • So true. Even though Samsung is on my bad side with their neglect of the WP8 platform, they could end up swaying this with their place in the market.
  • Apple will create a 3rd standard, and charge 5x too much for it.  That's just good business.
  • The problem from my opinion is what will places like coffee shops adopt.
    I think that ends up being the driving force honestly. I had thought they would adopt whatever was in the phones, but currently they seem to be lining up with PMA.
    Of course the further headache is going to be confusion for the consumers, who will see PowerMats in Starbucks and not know their S4's or Lumnia don't work on them.
  • That's only a portion of what will make a difference. I dint know anyone who goes into coffee shops for more than 10 mins. One can say whatever choice the movie theaters adapt, or whatever choice the mall food courts adapt, or whatever one my job adapts.
  • So a remobable back cover is the smart way to go! Isn't it, simply change the 'old' back cover to the 'new standard' and that's it!
  • Why is AT&T siding with PMA when they sell flagship devices that feature Qi?
  • Could two standards coexists side by side? Or will we have one clear winner?
    There at least were rumours of TI manufacturing chips supporting both standards, which would essentially make this a non-issue. As also mentioned in the article, Power Kiss will update all their existing devices to support PMA standard. An announcement such as this suggests that the investment to upgrade the existing hardware to support additional standard is negligible. Thus, for manufacturers of wireless charging appliances (e.g. tables, counters, sofas, etc.) will with some likelihood make their products compatible with both standards, till there is a clear winner.
    I think that with PMA essential element of its Power 2.0 is the software that enables devices to charge. It is difficult to say how different the final technical solutions of PMA and WPC (Qi) are, but if same devices can be used for both (as Power Kiss clearly states) it is highly unlikely that they use technology that different from one another. Thus, it is somewhat different than, say, VHS v Betamax as those called for entirely different technology.
  • I hate this.... just get into a what was thought a standard and NOW ? I do hope QI wins because I have a phone that supports it and have 2 chargers.
    So, What is better ? Is there any real performance or charging speed difference ?
  • Qi has two different power specifications: low and medium. Low can deliver up to 5 watts while medium does 120 watts. The PMA allows vendors to control and monitor the usage of their hotspots.
  • Apple better go qi or we're doomed
  • Mobile Wold Congress?  When was this?  It sounds like a hipper version of MWC.
  • I really hate crap like this. Thankfully the S4 has Qi. Hopefully that will help.
  • If my HTC 8x, UK version, is not fitted with Qi charging, only the US Verizon is, does it make any difference to us users?
  • Whatever standard the porn industry chooses will inevitably win out.
  • I as a consumer don't want to "connect something to my phone to allow for wireless charging". Products that require this are missing the point IMHO. So I keep my fingers crossed for Qi.
  • Well it seems like Samsung has ditched Qi, and joined Powermatters alliance with HTC, Huawei and LG....
    Bye Qi....
  • MS is also a member of PMA.