The Alliance For Wireless Power (A4WP) and the Power Matters Alliance announced a combined organization called the AirFuel Alliance. Going forward, AirFuel will also become the brand identity of the two organizations' wireless charging technologies.
The Power Matters Alliance started out with inductive charging, the same wireless charging technology behind WPC's Qi, but on a different frequency. Then the A4WP came out, which brought a "next-generation" wireless charging technology, in the sense that it freed devices from having to stay in a fixed location to charge. Instead, people could put the devices in a relative charging area (such as anywhere on a table). This new technology was called Rezence, which comes from "magnetic resonance" charging. We first saw Rezence in action at IDF 2014.
Rezence, like any other wireless charging technology that increases the charging distance from the transmitter to the receiver, has a disadvantage -- the longer the distance, the less efficient it is to charge the devices. This means you lose more power than what gets into the device's battery, and the device could also charge slower.
As both technologies have their own complementary advantages and disadvantages, the two organizations decided to join powers, so to speak, and create a single multi-mode solution, which they are now branding as "AirFuel."
"The introduction of AirFuel is a clear step in the right direction for true wireless charging. AirFuel Alliance is committed to bringing to life technology that uses AirFuel while continuing to be open to further industry consolidation," said Ron Resnick, President of AirFuel Alliance.
After a period of time, the older brands will be retired and new products will have the new AirFuel logo and certification. According to the new organization, AirFuel will become synonymous with "fast, convenient, and readily available wireless charging."
Ultimately, the alliance aims to make it easier and less confusing for both OEMs and consumers when choosing a wireless charging technology. However, after this unification, and considering that the consortium already has 195 members including Qualcomm, Intel, Mediatek, Samsung, AT&T, Starbucks, and others, it should become quite difficult for the Qi standard to maintain relevance when AirFuel can provide both inductive and resonant charging. At this point, AirFuel is likely on its way to become the "Wi-Fi" of wireless charging.
Lucian Armasu joined Tom’s Hardware in early 2014. He writes news stories on mobile, chipsets, security, privacy, and anything else that might be of interest to him from the technology world. Outside of Tom’s Hardware, he dreams of becoming an entrepreneur.