The wireless charging standards battle effectively over now? Microsoft joins Qi

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Microsoft and Samsung have been, in effect, sitting on the fence in terms of support for the various wireless charging standards for smartphones, with the worldwide Qi system and incompatible (and mainly USA-centric) Powermat version vying for the future. However, we're calling it now - Qi has won. Already dominant by far in terms of compatible smartphones across the world, Qi has just been handed the major endorsements of Microsoft and Samsung, according to a WPC (Wireless Power Consortium) press release yesterday.

Qi logoAlthough the press release isn't on the WPC's web site as I write this, PR Newswire has it:

PISCATAWAY, N.J.March 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) announced today that Microsoft and Samsung Electro-Mechanics have joined its board.  The WPC board drives Qi's adoption across mobile devices, cars, infrastructure, accessories, and products as the leading standard for wireless charging worldwide.

"Microsoft and Samsung Electro-Mechanics are important players in furthering Qi's adoption in more devices, cars, products, and places," said John Perzow, Vice President of Market Development at WPC.  "Qi leads the way in wireless charging with the fastest advances in inductive and resonance technology while ensuring compatibility with the entire 40+ million strong Qi ecosystem. That means that today and tomorrow, Qi products will continue to have the best features and will always work at any Qi charging spot, in the home, office, car and public locations."

As Microsoft and Samsung Electro-Mechanics join the WPC board, WPC's membership continues to significantly grow in the past few months, with new members including IKEA, ZTE Corporation, Aircharge and many others. This growth continues the development, advancement, and adoption of the Qi specification.

Mobile carriers around the world including Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, China Mobile, NTT DoCoMo, O2, and Telefonica, are contributing to the adoption of Qi by selling tens of millions of phones integrated with Qi wireless charging. Consumers can now choose from over 60 mobile phones, tablets and accessories, including the Samsung Galaxy S5, S4, and S3; LG Google Nexus 4; Google Nexus 7; Nokia Lumia 1520 and 1020; LG Optimus G Pro; and HTC Droid DNA. 

The Qi standard ensures interoperability, regardless of manufacturer or brand, and offers simplicity, convenience and flexibility. Qi is backed by more than 200 leading companies of the WPC, and continues to grow as the global leader in wireless charging

Sounds comprehensive to me. With Google already backing Qi, thanks to its use in products like the Nexus 4, 5 and 7, and with the likes of Nokia having championed Qi for so long, the addition of Microsoft and Samsung amount to what is virtually a clean sweep. It's true that this is Samsung Electro-Mechanics, but then this is the division that makes most of the parts that goes into Samsung consumer products, so we can expect to see some definitive official Samsung Qi-compatible smartphones in the future.

Windows Phone has been Qi-only for the most part, with just AT&T insisting on a change to Powermat for one device (the 1520) in the USA. Every other model with wireless charging, whether built-in or by using an add-on shell, has used the Qi standard.

With Qi now becoming more and more prevalent, maybe we'll soon start to see more real world public charging spots - at which point the technology will really become mainstream.

See also The Nokia DT-900 and Living in the Future.

DT-900 charger

Source / Credit: PR Newswire