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Samsung's Solution To Wireless Charging Fragmentation: Use All The Standards

In a recent post on one of its websites, Samsung talked about the recent history of wireless charging and how the company has been working on bringing this technology to market since late 2000. It finally did it in 2011 when the company brought wireless charging support for its Droid Charge smartphone.

Samsung, along with other companies, joined the Wireless Power Consortium that created the Qi magnetic induction standard back in 2008. The Qi standard has gained some popularity in smartphones over the past few years, but it also had to compete with the PMA magnetic induction standard from Powermat. While the Qi standard caught on with smartphone users, the PMA standard was more successful with companies because of its stronger brand.

Then came the self-proclaimed "next-generation" wireless charging standard called Rezence, which works through magnetic resonance rather than magnetic induction. The Rezence standard promised to enable wireless charging through different materials, at longer distances of up to a few feet, and it could even charge multiple devices at once.

The A4WP (Alliance for Wireless Power) eventually merged with the Power Matters Alliance behind the PMA standard, but the new consortium still has to compete with the Wireless Power Consortium that develops the Qi standard.

Because we're talking about a brand new type of technology, having multiple standards can hurt adoption, so Samsung, which is a member of both consortiums, has decided that it's best to just use both technologies in its upcoming devices. This way, a device such as the Galaxy S6 could be backwards compatible with both standards and all the accessories that support them. Soon, for example, Samsung's devices could be charged wirelessly either at McDonalds restaurants, which use Qi charging, or at Starbucks stores, which use PowerMat chargers.

Samsung believes that using both technologies in mobile devices will dramatically accelerate the adoption of wireless charging in 2015 and beyond.

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  • allawash
    What I can't understand is how the USB standards committee, or whoever controls the design of USB in general, dropped the ball on this. Why does a USB connector have to be so complicated? The device to be hooked up should just have an open port with the pins in a ring around the inside, the cable should just have pins on the outside. This hole with a circuit board that fits inside a connector that also fits in a hole is antiquated thinking. Or better yet, magnetic connectors. I think Apple has gone this route, no? With the number of changes to USB mini/micro connector over the last ten years, they could have fixed the problem with broken ports and bent pins.
    Reply
  • SchizoFrog
    @allawash, Before commenting please keep your thoughts ON TOPIC. Also, if you are going to comment, maybe you should be aware of the latest FACTS. Here, let me help you read up on USB Type-C.

    http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/usb-type-c-hands-on-its-here-and-its-great/
    Reply
  • bygbyron3
    The Nokia (Microsoft Mobile) Lumia 830 has both PMA and Qi charging built into the cases it comes with.
    Reply
  • CaedenV
    If I am not mistaken the Nokia/Microsoft Lumia 830 was the first device to use both standards in the same device.

    We are at such a stupid impass right now. PMA has support by the companies that make and deploy chargers, while Qi is what is in the vast majority of phones and devices. It is a format war that just needs to end.
    Reply
  • Simon Anderson
    @Schizofrog it would be a very boring world where everyone always ensured they had all the "facts"... we wouldn't have any need for comments/forums would we?
    Reply
  • nitrium
    Naturally Apple will also introduce a new standard when they FINALLY jump on the wireless charging bandwagon. Meanwhile I've been entirely free of wires on my Nexus 2013 since, well, 2013.
    Reply
  • SchizoFrog
    @Simon Anderson.

    I disagree. Forums/Comment sections are for people to express their opinions. Opinions can be made on either facts or about complete bull shit. So basing opinions on facts hardly negates the need for discussion, does it? Which is at the end of the day the reason for forums and comment sections.
    Reply
  • CaedenV
    Naturally Apple will also introduce a new standard when they FINALLY jump on the wireless charging bandwagon. Meanwhile I've been entirely free of wires on my Nexus 2013 since, well, 2013.
    My bet is that Apple is waiting for the fancy new WiFi based wireless power solutions to come into play. It is essentially a trickle charge right now, but by the time it hits market it should have a little more power output, and phones will have a much lower power envelope, so it should not be a problem. The nice thing about it is that you can pull power so long as you are within your home (or business') WiFi signal range, which means no plates, and constant top-offs of power. Plus, one of the bigger issues is that current wireless charging requires the use of a plastic back-plate which Apple simply will not do. The new WiFi based solution will offer charging via a small strip of plastic on the device rather than a whole back of it.
    Reply
  • SchizoFrog
    @CaedenV

    'Plus, one of the bigger issues is that current wireless charging requires the use of a plastic back-plate which Apple simply will not do. '

    First it's Polycarbonate, not 'plastic'. Secondly, did you never hear of the iPhone 5C which indeed had a Polycarbonate shell?

    The truth is that Apple are waiting for one thing and one thing only with regards to wireless charging... and that is for them to feel that they will sell a ton more devices with said feature. Right now, no one really cares. A few are keen on the up take but most people don't even realise that this tech is technically already here.
    Reply
  • back_by_demand
    It's a brave new world out there, doesn't really matter which of these 2 competing formats "wins" so long as they do compete as that will drive innovation. It's almost like the DVD-R and DVD+R debacle, with drive manufacturers simply creating multi-format drives. So keep making phones that support both wireless formats and force the 2 companies to make better and better products. My ideal scenario would be to walk in the house and my phone charges from inside my pocket, a small router sized device sat in a cupboard somewhere.
    Reply