The technology for wireless charging has been around for decades, but we haven’t seen it in many phones yet because the industry could not agree on a universal standard. Just like many companies decided to adopt micro USB for wired charging, they have now agreed to go with Qi (pronounced “chee”) as the international standard for interoperable wireless charging.
Qi is the product of the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) which comprises of around 70 companies including all our favorite handset makers. Their vision is simple – turn every flat surface into a wireless charging station.
Their member list includes HTC, LG, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson (plus we heard Motorola is joining soon). You might not be familiar with it yet, but look for the Qi logo to be displayed on about every high-end Android phone by the end of 2011.
I had a feeling that LG might announce the first Qi-enabled phone in the U.S. at CES and I’m happy to report that they delivered the goods. Verizon and LG somehow failed to mention it in their press release, but I attended a meeting of the WPC where they demonstrated an early version of the LG Revolution that supported Qi wireless charging.
One would think that Verizon would want to promote that one of their phones uses Qi, but they also left off the processor and many other specs from their press release and we are still trying to obtain a detailed spec sheet. Look for an update when we hear back from Verizon or LG.
For an idea of what to expect, check out the quick video I filmed when I was at the WPC meeting. You can see that a Qi-enabled smartphone can work on any wireless charger sporting the Qi logo. Energizer already produces a charging pad and more options are coming. Several airports are already installing Qi-enabled tables and I bet we see some wireless charging stations in hotels and restaurants by year’s end.