Powermat, Samsung, & Qualcomm form competing wireless charging alliance

Powermat, Samsung, & Qualcomm form competing wireless charging alliance
Wireless charging is a great idea; we have these precious mobile devices, yet they have to be plugged in on a regular basis (sometimes too regular) so they don’t die. Wouldn’t it be great if they could charge themselves when you aren’t using them? Even though the technology that allows this to happen (via charging mats and special back plates) has been around for a while, the expense and limited convenience has stopped it from seeing widespread adoption.

Apparently tired of the status quo, Powermat, Samsung, and Qualcomm have abandoned the existing Wireless Power Consortium to form the Alliance for Wireless Power, or A4WP for short (someone in the Alliance has been sending too many text messages…). They hope that by focusing on just the transfer protocol, and on pushing miniaturization of charging elements in mobile devices, they can spark more rapid adoption and also free users up to charge almost anywhere.

In short, the A4WP wants to make it cheap and easy to add the charging interfaces to smartphones (and tablets and laptops) without adding bulk, which would mean a lot more manufacturers would choose to include them by default. This would help solve the “chicken and egg” dilemma of OEMs not adding wireless charging to phones because most people don’t own the mats, and of the charging mats being expensive because not many people have phones to use with them.

The A4WP hopes that by increasing consumer demand and by focusing on the interface (not the surface itself) that a wider range of products will be built with wireless charging surfaces embedded in them. From coffee tables to car consoles to nightstands, the idea is that people would pay a small premium on several pieces of furniture or surfaces (office desk comes to mind) if the result was their devices were always charged, since most of the common places you’d set your phone or tablet down would have a charging surface built in.

This vision certainly appeals to us, although success will depend on how much an embedded charging surface adds to the price of a product, and how good it looks. What do you guys think – would you be interested in table tops and desks that would charge off of your mobile devices whenever you set them down? Or is that too much expense (or hassle) to set up in the first place?

source: A4WP, BusinessWire via The Verge



1. bruisingfour

Posts: 10; Member since: Dec 17, 2011

I think this would be the natural progression of wireless charging. Eventually getting to the point where you would plug in the TV stand only and the TV, XBOX, BluRay and other items would get the power needed directly from the TV stand itself. Hopefully this would also lead to the eventual progression of wireless streaming of the video from those items to the TV to make it so we could progress to point where we are truly a wireless society.

2. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Wireless charging is the future...NOW

3. pbui.818

Posts: 78; Member since: Feb 06, 2012

tin foil hat. faraday cage. i don't want *everything* to be wireless. need standards if you're going to make the TV/electronics stand itself a power strip. need to avoid the christmas tree problem of pulling too much current through a single circuit. A TV should be wall mounted going forward so there really is no need for it to share a power connection. HDMI, DisplayPort or Thunderbolt is another story. Saying all that, eliminating the charging cable does eliminate the need to have multiple cables or to cap the number of devices that can charge simultaneously. Also, for those devices that have weak connectors, it avoids damage when the device is dropped while connected. I damaged mine when I had it charging in my lap and I got out of the car. *DOH!*

4. Cyan3boN

Posts: 446; Member since: Feb 23, 2012

oh I just love technology

5. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

wireless charging is cool and all, but what is the real benefit over wired? For commercial use like coffee shops and such I see a market for it.. but at home? I already have a cord neatly placed by my computer and night stand. What is a mat going to do that my cord doesnt?

7. Scott_H

Posts: 167; Member since: Oct 28, 2011

I've had similar thoughts; I guess for one it would be easier to charge multiple devices (my phone, my wife's phone, both of our laptops) on the same surface. Also, for social gatherings you don't need to have 5 cords out. But I agree that commercial locations, possibly along with cars, will be a more likely place to see rapid adoption.

9. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

When we get to the day that you can go to the restaurant/bar, plop the phone/tablet/laptop on the table and let it charge for free while you get food/beer, then i think that will push home adoption. Until then i just dont see it going anywhere but with the most tech hungry peeps. Thats just me though.. lol.

18. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

And I wonder, how fast would it charge? Would it be like plugging into a computer? Because computer USB charging takes like 4 hours on my RAZR. Or would it be like plugging in with a wall adapter?

10. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

I hate having a ton of wires at home. I have 2 PCs, with wires for mouse, keyboard, ethernet, etc., Clear modem, wireless router, 3 TVs, 5 game systems, and a bunch of cords for charging 3 phones, an ipod and ipad, plus wires for the lamps, plus wires for fans....I bought a cover for the extension strip for all 5 strips in the home, so that the baby does not grab the wires as easily. Less wires is better.

14. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

yea but, are you really willing to change cords for mats to do the same thing? You already have the cords, so there is no cost there, but your talking a pretty nice chunk of change to set up wireless mats and such.. and its not like they actually get rid of all the wires.. they are still plugged in to the wall after all.. it just keeps you from pluging in devices directly, or maybe using multiple devices per mat. I dunno.. maybe I'm just missing part of the equation somewhere?

19. cepcamba

Posts: 717; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

I actually prefer cords. Like you remixfa, I have my cords neatly placed all over my house. Wherever I am (inside the house) I can plug my phone. And when I'm out, I have spare batteries. That's more convenient ain't it? Also, I think, for the moment, the only problem that will be solved by wireless charging is that people won't have to worry about incompatible ports.

20. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

well, except for those apple products, almost every device sold in america (and i guess the bulk of the world) uses the same micro charger.. so thats not really an issue anyways.. lol

21. cepcamba

Posts: 717; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

Well, yes, the micro charger actually is pretty standard nowadays, so yeah, it's not really an issue. But so are tangled wires. That issue is nothing major as to develop wireless charging to solve it. Scott has a point when he said he'd use wireless charging to charge multiple devices without bringing out multiple cords (I've seen that kind of nightmare). But that would only be practical if the power consumption (of the charger) is acceptable. And also, the price of the wireless charger needs to be strategically positioned or else it won't be standard any time soon.

12. thedarkside

Posts: 654; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

when i worked at radio shack is when the power mat came out. although an awesome idea, it was too expensive. 100 for the mat, then you had to buy the adapters for each device, which would easily run you 40-50 bucks each. that why radio shack didnt carry it. people would come in during the holiday season and ask for it and i would get mad because people didnt understand how expensive it was at the time and would get pissy with me when id tell them about it. if they could just make each device ready for wireless charging i might jump ship... but until that happens, screw it.

6. iamcc

Posts: 1319; Member since: Oct 07, 2011


8. mafiaprinc3

Posts: 585; Member since: May 07, 2012

wireless is neat idea but they need to develop something that allows you to have your phone charged wirelessly while in your hand etc without having to place in on a special mat otherwise it's not worth the money,jst use ur wired charger

11. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

I have no problem placing a phone on a mat to charge. Eventually, the amount of time to charge a cell phone battery will be just minutes and not hours.

13. plgladio

Posts: 314; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Technology is always awesome, not when people patent and block it further.

15. squallz506

Posts: 1075; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

ill wait for hydrogen fuel cell phones. BTW just ordered an 3500mAh battery for my evo 3d. forget wireless charging technology. what we need is a battery capacity breakthrough.

17. EclipseGSX

Posts: 1777; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Like a battery that charges itself as you use it :)

22. cepcamba

Posts: 717; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

O so dream time? :p I'd prefer a nuclear-powered cellphone that has enough juice to run your car and even a submarine (if you have one). Power shortage? Connect your phone to the grid and provide power to your entire neighborhood. Yeah! :p

16. justme

Posts: 58; Member since: Jan 09, 2012

Would be great for airports....

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