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Powermat forms rival Alliance for Wireless Power with Samsung and Qualcomm

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Samsung and Qualcomm just announced that they are starting the Alliance for Wireless Power, or A4WP for short.

Alliance for Wireless Power
Alliance for Wireless Power

It looks like the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) and its Qi standard aren't the only group trying to push wireless power into the mainstream — Powermat is teaming with Samsung and Qualcomm to start the Alliance for Wireless Power, or A4WP for short. According to the A4WP website, the consortium will "focus on a new wireless power transfer technology that provides spatial freedom for charging of electrical devices in cars, on table tops and for multiple devices simultaneously." Aside from technology development, the group will also be involved in developing "product testing, certification and regulatory compliance processes" necessary to make a global standard. The group is interested in pushing its standard to as many industries as possible — its PR lists "handheld devices, consumer electronics, semiconductor products, automotive, furniture, test equipment, cellular operators, and retail" as potential industries to work with. Joining Powermat, Samsung and Qualcomm in the partnership are Ever Win Industries, Gill Industries, Peiker Acustic, and SK Telecom.

Powermat previously backed and used the Qi standard, but it seems that the company has severed its ties with the WPC — it's no longer listed as a partner on the WPC's site. Likewise, Samsung's already a WPC partner, but the company is clearly interested in pushing wireless power usage — the Droid Charge was one of Verizon's few phones that supported Qi wireless charging, and the company also notably included wireless charging in its brand-new Galaxy S III flagship device. While Qi has been around for some years, it hasn't exactly caught fire, despite fairly frequent updates and a long list of partners. Perhaps a new consortium and a new potential standard will drive the WPC to push its innovations harder — though on the other hand, two competing "standards" could make choices a little tougher for consumers. No one wants to be stuck with a losing standard, after all. The A4WP will be at CTIA, so we expect to hear more about what it has planned this week.