Intel has chosen its side in the wireless power market (pdf), and it's the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) which was founded by Samsung and Qualcomm. This alliance, which claims to have over 50 members including Broadcom, LG Electronics, SanDisk and more, is competing with the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) and Power Matters Alliance (PMA) to set the standard for the nascent wireless charging market.
A4WP's method uses near-field magnetic resonance technology, and is capable of enabling the simultaneous charging of multiple devices and the flexible positioning of devices on a charging pad or similar devices "at power levels and charging times that meet consumer expectations". Devices can charge up to 1.5 inches away, thus tablet or smartphone can be charged when placed next to a laptop sporting resonance charging capabilities without having to be seated directly on a charging platform.
The competing WPC supports the widely adopted Qi inductive power standard. It requires that a compatible device charge on a surface area of at least 70-mm by 20-mm via magnetic induction. This method doesn't require a wired connection, but rather a transmitter coil and a receiver coil to transmit power. A magnetic field that's generated by alternating current in the transmitter actually induces a voltage in the receiver coil.
The PMA's Power 2.0 specification is defined as "a multifaceted interface standard describing analog power transfer (inductive and resonant), digital transceiver communication, cloud based power management, and environmental sustainability." Its suite of standards is based on inductive coupling technology to provide advanced inductive and resonant power. PMA members include Broadcom, Huawei, LG Electronics, Mediatek, Samsung, Sharp and others.
For A4WP, Intel is joining existing board member companies Broadcom, Gill Industries, Integrated Device Technology (IDT), Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics, and Samsung Electro-Mechanics. Given that a number of these companies are also dipping their toes into the other two standards, it's probably safe to say that Intel is just now joining the name-that-standards game rather than "choosing sides". Samsung and the like seem to be working to deliver the best solution to customers whether it's through A4WP or PMA.
However Navin Shenoy, vice president of Intel's PC client group and the general manager of its mobile client platform division, seems pretty fond of what A4WP has to offer.
"Intel believes the A4WP specification, particularly the use of near-field magnetic resonance technology, can provide a compelling consumer experience and enable new usage models that make device charging almost automatic," he said. "In joining A4WP, we look forward to working alongside other member companies and contributing to standards that help fuel an ecosystem of innovative solutions capable of simultaneously charging a range of devices, from low-power accessories to smartphones, tablets and Ultrabooks."
The A4WP said that its overall vision is that of ubiquitous power based on non-radiative. Near-field magnetic resonance wireless power transfer.