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Qualcomm surprisingly backs Qi wireless charging

Posted: 26 Sep 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Qualcomm  Wireless Power Consortium  Qi  Alliance for Wireless Power  WiPower 

In a surprise move, chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. has joined the management board of the rival Wireless Power Consortium (WPC)—the group responsible for the Qi wireless charging standard.

This is quite an interesting development as Qualcomm is also a founding member of Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), another group that is pushing for a rival standard.

The WPC is managed by the 24 companies that are a so-called "regular member" of the WPC. Each regular member has one vote in the board of management. Since its formation in 2008 the WPC has attracted more than 170 member companies in total. WPC's Qi standard for wireless energy transfer is deployed in more than 300 products, the organisation claims.

The board of management of the WPC (also called the steering group) includes many companies from the mobile phone industry such as HTC, LG Electronics, Nokia, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Sony, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, and Verizon Wireless.

In May 2012, Qualcomm and Samsung announced the formation of the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP). This was followed by the addition of Intel to the group in June 2013. After its first year of operation A4WP announced it had grown to more than 50 members and successfully proved the utility of its A4WP V1.0 specification by demonstrating product interoperability at PlugFest held in South Korea.

A4WP's next steps were expected to be the creation of certification and branding programmes to provide consumers with a means of recognising wireless products and charging mats that are compatible.

At present Qualcomm's WiPower technology is designed to be compatible with only the A4WP wireless charging specification. However Qi was recently selected for the in-car wireless charging standard for use by Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche, and Volkswagen: Qualcomm may feel that, at the very least, it now has to support both standards.

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