Standards are great. People create them so that things can work together and everyone can contribute to an ecosystem, whether that be the standard power outlet in your wall, the HTML standard that powers your web browser and this website, or the chip on your credit card that works pretty much anywhere. Standards don’t work though when there are too many of them and different people use different ones. The Wireless Power Consortium, which was established in 2008, has been pushing their Qi standard for years now. Every company that you can think of is a member of the group, including Samsung. I say “including Samsung”, because today they’ve announced that they’re going to team up with Qualcomm to form the Alliance for Wireless Power. What does their standard do that Qi doesn’t? I honestly can’t tell you since I haven’t seen any technical documents, but something tells me that it’s just a clone of Qi.
Should you pay attention to the Alliance for Wireless Power? Absolutely. Qualcomm’s chips power nearly half of all the Android devices out on the market. Samsung makes components that can be found in practically everything that runs on electricity. If these two players want to get together to push a standard, then they have enough clout to make it happen. Similar to how Intel can dictate the success of a new standard simply by integrating it on the chipsets that power the motherboards of most of the computers that are sold, Samsung and Qualcomm can do the same thing for mobile.
The bigger question is of course when will wireless charging become so common place that you’ll be able to step into any café in any major city and be able to charge your phone or tablet simply by putting it down on one of the many tables inside?
If I had to take a guess, I’d say at least another five years.
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