What happens when some of the world’s leading electronics companies get together to promote a wireless power standard? So far, not much. Over 100 companies joined up to form the Wireless Power Consortium and promote a universal standard called Qi, but it has failed to take off.
A handful of Verizon phones actually support the Qi standard, but customers still have to purchase the extra battery covers and you won’t find the “Qi” branding on any of them. Over the last couple years I actually attended several meetings of the Wireless Power Consortium at industry trade shows, and I argued that the standard was not embraced by consumer because of the confusing “Qi” name that doesn’t describe what the technology does.
Next week at CTIA Wireless in New Orleans, Qualcomm and Samsung will be announcing the launch of a newly forumed industry group called the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP). This group will promote a new standard that Qualcomm developed, which is called WiPower.
Qualcomm was never a member of the original Wireless Power Consortium, which could be another reason it never took off. Now that Qualcomm will lead an industry group and they have Samsung on board, this could be a different story. Plus, they have the name “WiPower”, which does a much better job of explaining wireless power.
Hopefully this new Alliance for Wireless Power will be able to persuade handset makers to bundle in the WiPower technology on more devices. Qualcomm could integrate it into their next Snapdragon chip or Samsung could enable it in all their phones.
The upcoming Galaxy S III was rumored to have wireless charging, so maybe this new industry group is a hint that could be true.
Check out Qualcomm’s video on WiPower to get an idea of their vision for the future of wireless charging. Maybe this will actually be the year that it finally takes off and becomes a part of all new mobile devices.