The Alliance for Wireless Power and Power Matters Alliance in last ditch merger against runaway Qi

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The Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) and Power Matters Alliance (PMA) have announced a 'Letter of Intent' to merge and establish an organization that will 'accelerate the availability and deployment of wireless charging technology on a global scale'. The idea is to close the merger by mid-2015, though it's not clear how long it will take before the merged branding and technology all come together. All this is against a background of runaway adoption of the market leader, Qi, about which we interviewed John Perzow, VP of market development at the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), last year. 

From a European perspective, in my opinion, it's way too late to challenge Qi, used in a number of Nokia Windows Phones and quite a few Android devices and a huge number of after-market cases. Though perhaps the new merger can achieve some success in the USA?

MergerFrom the press release:

The A4WP and PMA, leaders in wireless charging technology, have agreed in principal to the terms of the merger that is expected to close by mid-2015. The merger caps a productive year between the two organizations that announced a separate collaboration agreement in February, 2014.

One of the main objectives of the new organization is to accelerate the transition to volume economies of scale of wireless power transfer technology to benefit consumers, mobile network operators, consumer-facing commercial and retail brands, and the consumer electronics industry, including its semiconductor and manufacturing partners.  Consumers will gain access to an exciting and enhanced battery charging and power management experience sooner across the full spectrum of devices in daily use.  Mobile network operators and commercial and retail brands can commit to the necessary investment confident of stable, long-term evolution and management of innovative wireless charging technologies.  For the consumer electronics industry, in particular, the benefit is the creation of a competitive, multi-source and innovative supplier base to drive value-added features into product roadmaps across a broad range of devices from Bluetooth™ headsets to wearables to smartphones, and on up to tablets, notebooks and laptops, among many others.

“The ‘standards war’ narrative presents a false choice,” said Kamil Grajski, Board Chair and President, Alliance for Wireless Power.  “Consider that the typical mass-market smartphone contains a multiplicity of radio technologies (Bluetooth, NFC, WiFi, 3G, LTE) each built around a vibrant ecosystem, whereas other devices are single-mode (Bluetooth headset).  The A4WP PMA merger is in the same spirit: enable the market to apply technologies to their best use cases.”

Under terms of the Letter of Intent, the new entity will operate under a to-be-announced new name.  The A4WP and PMA Boards will combine and feature a roster of global consumer brands, supply chain and market leaders: AT&T, Broadcom, Duracell, Flextronics, Gill Electronics, Integrated Device Technologies (IDT), Intel, Powermat, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics, Samsung Electro-Mechanics, Starbucks and WiTricity.

A 'to be announced' name is the clue that all this will take a while. Branding, development and then market awareness aren't things that happen overnight. Meanwhile the number of Qi-enabled devices in the world is heading towards the magic 100 million mark. 

Shouldn't the other two consortiums/companies just give up. It's Betamax vs VHS all over again. No doubt the A4WP and PMA have some technical advantage, but the (Qi) wireless charging ship sailed quite a while ago by virtue of selling phones and accessories with it built-in for the last two years, in large numbers.

PS. The Lumia 830, which we have here, is claimed to have dual-standard wireless charging support, i.e. Qi and PMA. Any comments from someone in a territory which has PMA chargers?

Source / Credit: A4WP