Qualcomm and Verizon join the Wireless Power Consortium board, the alliance behind the Qi wireless charging standard

Last fall, Windows Phone joined the world of wireless charging with the introducing of the Nokia Lumia 920 and the HTC 8X on Verizon. The feature was met with mixed reviews, but anyone who has used it will testify to its usefulness. It’s a shame devices like the Lumia 925 and 1020 need covers to add the feature. All Windows Phone devices that can charge wirelessly do so by using the Qi wireless standard.

Qi is currently the leading standard for wireless charging, but others are challenging it. So what happens now that Qualcomm and Verizon have joined the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), the management board for the Qi standard?

Qualcomm currently sits as a founding member of Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), a group that rivals the WPC with their own standard. So it is a little odd that is has joined the WPC. AT&T and Starbucks have both publically backed another group promoting their own wireless charging standard called the Power Matters Alliance (PMA). That’s right, we have three different groups backing three different charging standards. Which is why it’s interesting that Qualcomm, who founded A4WP with Samsung, has joined the WPC.

Both the A4WP and WPC have been critical towards the other with their respective standards, even though the Qi standard is well established and backed by 172 companies. Its only fault is being labelled as “first generation” technology for how it implements inductive charging. The technology that A4WP is working on is pretty advanced, for example both groups are working to enable longer range charging. They’re both implementing magnetic resonance as a way to achieve this, but the A4WP is able to output 24W vs. 15W for Qi.

The implementation from the A4WP also allows multiple devices with different power requirements to charge on the same pad, something that Qi can’t do now or in the foreseeable future. However, Qi does claim greater efficiency by focusing on outputting uniform power.

So why did Qualcomm join? The company released a statement to Engadget that claims joining the WPC board was a logical step to grow the wireless power industry beyond the first generation, but that it believes A4WP represents the most mature and best implementation of wireless charging.

What can we take away from all this? That we’re not any closer to one wireless charging standard to rule them all and won’t be for a few more years. WPC is backed by heavyweights like Nokia, HTC, Sony, LG, Verizon, and others. While PMA has AT&T and Starbucks backing it. Then we have the A4WP backed by Qualcomm and Samsung. It’s a flustercluck at the moment.

Which could very well be why Nokia has been opting to make wireless charging optional via cases and shells for your phone. If Qi doesn’t win out as a standard, all they would need to do is make a case with the appropriate standard and you would be able to wireless charge your device at whatever establishment you frequent. Nokia is just hedging their bet. If PMA or A4WP wins out, your device won’t be stuck in the past.

What do you think?

Source: Wireless Power Consortium, Via: Engadget

Further reading:

Exploring the future of wireless charging now: Qi at MWC

Qi wireless under thread from rival Power Matters Alliance

Sam Sabri
  • Also, if you use the charging cover for the 1020, then you cannot use any of the cases. I wish they would make a case with QI built in.
  • I'm a Qi'er
  • I suspect AT&T's support for A4WP may be part of the reason why so many Nokia's haven't had Qi built in recently.
  • AT&T is backing PMA. 
  • Oh, either way.
  • Hardly matters though. Starbucks and AT&T aren't exactly tech companies.
  • But they both have huge influence. AT&T of course has influence over mobile.
  • But if Starbucks put one standard in all their stores...that standard would certainly have a big push to win out over the others. 
  • So if most phones use either WPC (Qi) and A4WP standards, what phone/s will be able to use the PMA chargers Starbucks is setting up at their stores?!!
    By the way, Wikipedia lists Samsung as member also of WPC's Qi wireless charging consortium.
  • But at the same time, it could scare their customers away too.
  • Who? Starbucks? No.
    People go to Starbucks for the same reason they buy iPhones. Starbucks could start raping kittens in store every Wednesday and people would still go.
  • With both AT&T and Starbucks backing PMA, I will not be surprised to hear Apple baking the it into a future iPhone. Both companies already have a long history of supporting iOS in their stores.
  • Could this be why the pictures WP Central posted of the Verizon 1520 didn't have the camera hump? Is Verizon requesting Qi be built in?
  • Well, while there's logic behind the "If PMA or A4WP wins out, your device won’t be stuck in the past", this isn't really an area that's evolving at such a fast pace to justify that approach IMO...so I would still prefer them to build-in the wireless charging on the phones. Actually, the absence of built-in wireless charging on the L925 and L1020 is a big deal breaker to me (being the other the aesthetics, but that's not the point). Being used to it on the L920, I don't really wish to have to return to USB charges.
    You can say "you can buy the wireless charging cover".
    Enters the protection issues.
    The charging covers aren't designed to protect the phone. They slightly do, but that's not at all their main function. I, for instance, have my phones with the official protective covers (I actually have all colours except yellow of the CC-1043). If I buy a wireless charging cover, I can't use it at the same time of the protective cover. Which mean, everytime I would want to use the wireless charging I would have to take the p-cover, replace with the wc-cover, charge the phone, take the wc-cover and put the p-cover back in.
    That's just too much work for something that doesn't justify it. It's easier to plug-in the USB cable.
    So, unless they start building the wireless charging sticker on real protective covers, I'd rather have them build them into the phone.
  • I would think not having built in is hurting Qi as I got the chargers because my phones have it built in. If I had to buy a cover I wouldn't have gotten the chargers. We have two in the bedroom two in the living room and we have them on our desks at work. I don't like the look of the covers and I don't like having a case on my phone.
  • Yeah, but they are built slightly tougher that the run of the mill smartphones out there, although I say that being as lovingly careful as possible with it...I'm not out there tossing my phone around in the pitch, so I see how it might be an issue. That said, my phone still fits nicely into the holster with the qi cover on it =D
  • I agree with both of you. I like my 920 and the stuck in the past idea is bit overboard considering the pace of the mobile market in general slowing down. I hate cases on my phone. I prefer the natural feel of the device. That's why I have a beat up old Samsung focus s. No cases. I would hate to go back to USB charging as well. Wc is so convenient.
  • Well said DJCBD. Lack of built in wireless charging is one of the two things holding me back from a 1020, for exactly those reasons. The other being SDCard support or 64GB.
  • +1 I would ask Nokia for a refund for their Wireless Speakers I bought if they don't start making Qi built into their phones again soon!
  • Intel also backs one that isn't Qi. That made me sad.
  • Yes, I think Intel is a member of Alliance for Wireless Power or A4WP which pushes an opposing standard to Qi. The whole thing is really, really a mess.
  • well.. having optional things doesnt get anything anywhere. we see that having optional 64bit for windows for a decade and common apps are still not 64bit. having wireless charging optional doesnt get wireless charging with Qi anywhere. but it seems like Qi is the worse of those standards anyways. shame for my 920
  • Not really the same... there is no advantage for most apps to be 64 bit (as opposed to the os which needs it to address more than 4GB RAM). But I agree with the basic point that optional is hurting wireless charging adoption rates.
  • If a only a massively produced car adopted the technology it'd give this a jumpstart. Too bad currently Nokia just partnered with high-end oem's like Mercedes (if I'm not mistaken) for their GPS deal. Had that been a GPS and Wireless deal with Honda, Acura, Kia or Ford for example, it would have been even better to promote the brand and wireless tech. I'm still hoping the Gov adopts wireless technology for general transportation vehicles, bus tops to name a few to keep tax payer's electronics juiced in case of emergencies. They could do this with solar panels on top of buses and trains for example. that should be enough for A/C or heater and w-charging tech.
  • BMW, VW, Audi, Jeep and Toyota use Qi or have it planned for new cars. I believe their are others too.
  • I guess Toyota would be the cheapest one of the bunch, and Prius would be the perfect ambassador
  • Or just have the chargers work while the bus is in motion. The wheels generate alot of power for reviving car batteries, so I'm assuming buses do the same. Plus, I heard WCs are pretty efficient when not in use.
  • Magnetic Resonance...are they nuts? That can't be good for the rest of us, my whole understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum is still a bit basic though, so maybe I am a Luddite =[
  • I think WCs use electromagnetic fields currently, but they have short range and can't harm us.*
  • Silver Lining? FREE MRI! :P
  • I thought it was a bad idea for Nokia to leave the other devices as options but this opens up the floor. It makes sense to me that they went the route they did. Also, I prefer there to be a standard the allows us to have the best features with the best cost in the case of privately owned charging features. I'm behind Nokia though. Heck, I'm behind Sony as well.
  • Not fussed with what standard there is as long as i can get a charger that supports my device, which happily i can.. but what stands out for me is how carriers are sticking their noses in, seemingly limiting growth of mobile tech and strong arming manufacturers with the end result less choice for us, ya know the people who pay for it..
  • Yeah, as long as I can still get a Qi charger I don't care what becomes standard (although I'll have a new phone, maybe 2 or 3, by the time a standard is chosen).
  • I think that the Nokia Lumia 822 is in a great position and has the best solution. Instead of having built-in wireless charging, it has a replaceable back cover that provides the ability while still allowing for regular covers to be used. Still, we won't have to worry about being without the "standard" wireless charger for some time. But if a true standard is established, I'll probably get a new phone by then anyway. Enjoying my Qi until then.
  • If that is the case with the 822, why isn't there an option for the 1020?
  • It's not just the replaceable back cover, it's also got hardware built in that enables that cover to work.
  • I have the HTC 8X on Verizon and tried to charge my phone at a Starbucks I stopped at on a road trip, just for kicks. Now I know why it wouldn't work. I personally prefer the built-in implementation and hope that if Verizon gets a variant of the 1020 that they build Qi in as well. The fact that Nokia has so many wireless chargers out there makes me feel like Windows Phone and Nokia are leading the way with wireless charging. However, whoever Apple gets on board with will likely get the nod toward a standard. For what its worth, I'm happy with the performance of my Qi based wireless charging system. My iPad uses a 10w charger and I don't see my cellphone ever needing more than that.
  • The thing is apple probably won't to that far at least one more year
  • http://www.cultofmac.com/239347/magnetyze-wireless-charging-case-arrives...
    3rd party WC for iPhone 5. I think Duracell also made one.
  • I wouldn't have one of those wireless charging cases. You'd have to take the case off to use a plug. Which would be a pain trying to charge when away from the charging plate or syncing on your computer.
  • But maybe Apple is also watching which standard will get the edge then put their weight behind that and tip the scale completely. They can then brag that they were the ones who created the accepted standard.
  • Or come up with a 4th standard just to make sure you need to buy Apple branded chargers etc. Just like when they updated the iPhone and iPad connections; could have gone for USB but they would have lost out on the royalties from the accessories.
  • Apple will take one of the standards, add some propriatary feature and it will be judged as a miracle for the industry.  Of couse no other vendor could use it without paying huge license fees to Apple.
  • I could already see the future of wireless charging having the range of a WiFi hotspot, it will be sick!
  • And nobody would be around in that future because they all died from cancer.
  • But, you know this is reality, and they are even working on wireless power for homes❓... Technology is a bitch, so never doubt if humans can make anything work "safely"... This stuff is nothing new, and we've been talking about it since the nineties... Now, it's showtime❗
  • Tesla coils.... Yes been ages
  • http://www.who.int/peh-emf/about/WhatisEMF/en/index1.html World Health Org. did this article, no signs of cancer. As long as you are not in HIGH intensity electromagnetic fields 24/7, you should be fine. P.s Don't stand near an active microwave for 2 days straight though. That will probably give you cancer :P.
  • Yes, the radiation is going to make you sick...LOL
  • I can't imagine not using my wireless charger. There is however one curious thing about the charger (Nokia) - I have one setup next to my bed, I turn the phone to "silent" drop it on there and it does it's thing, but there is a very high pitched sound that goes on and off throughout the night. The sound is easy to hear at night since there is no noise....does anyone else hear this from their chargers?
  • Not charger or phone, but i do hear other electronics make that noise like my bedside clock blinking an LED.
  • Yes, that is the result of the charging happening. The coils are vibrating. It seems that from one charging plate to another it is different so I am assuming that the coil was glued the same from one to the other.
  • Ohhh, that's just the charger cooking your brain from the inside out... But, don't worry... Nokia says having your brain vibrated to mush, via high frequency, is perfectly safe.....
  • Never invite Brian to your house while you are charging your phone. He will never see it coming :D
  • Brain.. Lol❗❗❗❗
  • This is good,, this is very good..
  • Why is Qi being backed by the most companies if according to the article it is "less powerful" technology?
  • Flustercluck! Nice.
  • I see what they did there.
  • That makes perfectly sense now. Always been wondering why Nokia made that 'terrible' decision to ditch wireless charging for the 925 and 1020. 
  • I agree about the cases for future use of different standards
  • Whatever wireless charging standard is decided upon I hope we'll see the last of clunky add on cases (720, 925, 1020, 1520).
  • I think this is a stupid move to leave QI out of the Nokia devices because by the time a standard is selected, the devices today will be fertilizing landfills.
    Another idea would be build in QI charging and put ports in the back for a future shell should another format win.
  • From everything I have read the only thing Qi is superior in is an easier to remember name. A4WP can charge at distances and multiple devices on the same pad. Imagine parking your car over a spot and having it charge without having to plug it in. Leave your phone or any other device in the car and have it charge as well.... AT THE SAME TIME. Why is Qi still around? I know we saw this before with VHS beating the far superior Betamax but why can't the far superior technology just win for a change? Sure competition is good but this doesn't even sound close.
  • Wow. Very smart on Nokia's behalf. I always wondered why they offered the shells as an add on.. I get it now.