Qualcomm Inc. and Verizon Wireless have joined the board of the Wireless Power Consortium - the developers of Qi - sparking hope for an A4WP and Qi unification.
Qualcomm is also a founding member of Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP). This is an interesting development considering how both alliances have been openly critical of each other, and yet now there's a chance of seeing just one standard getting the best of both worlds.
The Qi standard defines a inductive charging method for mainly mobile devices. However, it has been sensitive to the alignment of the devices on the charging mats, and it currently provides just up to 5W of power, which may not be sufficient for charging up large devices at a reasonable pace.
However, both the WPC and the 63-strong A4WP are already working to enable longer range charging. A4WP's standard has been approved for up to 24W of output, whereas the WPC is already developing medium power (from 15W) Qi specification.
WHile A4WP's implementation allows simultaneous charging of devices that require different power requirement on the same pad, Qi follows a one-to-one control design to maximize efficiency.
The WPC is managed by the 24 companies that are a so-called "regular member" of the WPC. Each regular member has one vote in the board of management. Each regular member has same rights and obligations. There are no companies with special voting rights or other perks.
The board of management of the WPC (also called the "steering group") includes many companies from the mobile phone industry such as HTC, LG Electronics, Nokia, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Sony, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, and Verizon Wireless.
The Qi ecosystem includes over 330 devices such as the Google Nexus 7 tablet and smartphones like the Blackberry Z30, Droid MAXX by Motorola, DROID MINI by Motorola, Samsung Galaxy S4, Nokia Lumia 1020, and Google Nexus 4. Qi devices are sold by mobile carriers worldwide including AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, E-Plus, NTT DoCoMo, O2, Sprint, T-Mobile, Telefonica, and Verizon Wireless. A variety of Qi wireless charging products is available through Amazon.com and other on-line retailers.
Qi was recently selected as the in-car wireless charging standard by a standards association representing Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche, and Volkswagen. In addition, Mercedes-Benz has announced it will be introducing Qi-compatibility in its cars starting in 2014. Mercedes joins the Jeep Cherokee, Toyota Avalon, Toyota Prius, and SsangYong Chairman, which all currently feature Qi.