Mediatek Combines All Three Wireless Charging Standards Into One ASIC

Earlier this year, it came out that the Galaxy S6 would support all three wireless charging standards: Qi, PMA (Power Matters Alliance) and Rezence. Today, Mediatek announced that it's going to offer the first multi-mode wireless charging ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) to other OEMs interested in having the same kind of support for wireless charging as the Galaxy S6.

Over the past few years, there has been a fight for dominance of the two main wireless charging standards: Qi and PowerMat. Qi started appearing in popular devices owned by many people, while PMA was being pushed by other larger companies such as AT&T and Starbucks.

Then the self-proclaimed "next-generation" Rezence magnetic resonance standard appeared, which promised to completely discard the idea that you need to wirelessly charge your device on top of a fixed equipment.

In reality, Qi and PMA, which use magnetic induction charging, don't seem like revolutionary technologies that promise to set us free from the tyranny of cables, when you still have to put your device on top of something that has a cable. The difference in convenience between doing this and just introducing the cable into your phone's port isn't that big.

Rezence aimed to allow smartphone users to leave their devices in a general area close to the wireless charger. For instance, if a charger is installed into a table, a smartphone user could simply leave the device anywhere on the table, and it would charge. This could impact the charging rate and effectiveness, but the Rezence standard uses Bluetooth Smart connections to pinpoint where the devices are located and establish a more clear charging path to them.

The Power Matters Alliance (PMA) has recently merged with the Alliance For Wireless Power (A4WP), which is behind the Rezence technology, so that made the fragmentation issue a little smaller. The Qi standards still exists, though, and chip makers such as Mediatek and OEMs such as Samsung seem to have decided to just put the two together as well.

Mediatek's new MT3188 ASIC that will support all three standards is already in mass production, and we should see products incorporating it within a few months.

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Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.
  • cknobman
    Any info on availability?
  • back_by_demand
    I already said ages ago that the different standards of wireless charging will be irrelevant when hardware vendors simply support them all, just like how multiformat DVD writers ignored DVD+R or DVD-R. Way to go for the consumer, let the wireless tech firms compete to keep prices down whilst the hardware vendors give everyone everything.
  • WPC-Fan
    In case you want to know the status of the market I offer the following: The Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge phones support Qi and PMA standards (Powermat is one of the 65 or so companies in the Power Matters Alliance), not Rezence. Rezence technology requires that receivers (e.g., phones) be placed directly above the transmitter coil, not anywhere on or "near" the table surface, although there can be as much as about 2" Z-distance (vertical distance) from the transmitter antenna . PMA and A4WP have announced their intent to merge, but they have not yet merged and the result of that merger is unclear (One standard? Backward-compatible?, Name, technology?...) Because of "royalty stacking" it is not cost-effective to support 3 separate standards in either a receiver or transmitter: a $100 DVD/Blu-ray player might absorb that cost structure, but a $29.00 transmitter cannot. Qi announced a resonant (larger Z-distance) extension to their spec, it was demonstrated at CES in January 15. X,Y charging area is not a function of Rezence or resonant technology--it is a result of the transmitter antenna design. Qi already does and PMA could support larger X-Y charging areas. There are no Rezence products on the market today, and no transmitter spec--so no way to build, test or register a Rezence transmitter.
  • Calvin Huang
    Different standards hamper competition. In the case of blank DVD media, if there had only been a single standard, there'd still be just as many blank media makers competing on price and quality.

    But in the case of wireless charging, you still have many devices that can only take advantage of one or two standards, meaning that there's fewer manufacturers for end users to choose from if their handset only supports Qi.