In a rather surprising and somewhat suspicious move, ARM chip manufacturer Qualcomm has joined the management board of the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), the group responsible for the popular Qi wireless charging standard. This is despite the fact that Qualcomm is a founding member of the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), another group that is pushing for a rival standard.
Of the two, the Qi standard came first and is more well-known, with the WPC backed by 172 companies. And yet it seems that advancement on their front is moving at a snail-paced progress. The first generation inductive charging method currently requires strict alignment of devices on the charging mats, which can only provide 5W of power, although the WPC is working on increasing it to 15W.
On the other hand, the A4WP’s standard, which has no name yet, has already been approved for 24W of output. Their implementation also allows for multiple devices with different power requirements to use the same charging pad. But while the WPC’s implementation is limited to one device per mat, it allows for more fine-grained control such as delivering only the exact needed amount of energy and turning the mat off automatically once the device is fully charged.
One can only hope that this move would mean that industry players would eventually be rallying behind just a single inductive charging standard, but such hopes might sound too ideal. It’s too early to say if Qualcomm does have that in mind when it joined the other side or if it has some ulterior motive for its move.