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PowerMat to acquire PowerKiss in wireless charging landgrab

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Duracell-backed Powermat announced today that it plans to acquire Finnish wireless charging rival PowerKiss. The deal sees both companies combine under the Powermat brand, bringing together more than 2,500 wireless charging spots in airports, coffee shops, and retail stores across the US and Europe. The two companies previously allied under the Power Matters Alliance (PMA), attempting to prevail against the competing Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) — which supports the Qi standard used in Nokia, Samsung, and LG products.

It's a big boost for the PMA, which already boasts support from Starbucks, Google, and AT&T. In March, Powerkiss defected to the standard and announced it would roll out charging points in 1,000 McDonalds stores in Europe — which may have aided acquisition talks. Despite today's tie-up, the wireless charging industry is still in a state of flux, with retailers and mobile device makers backing the different technologies. Powermat's acquisition will boost the number of wireless outlets available to consumers, but there is still only a small number of smartphones that currently support wireless charging. The company appears to be positioning itself to lead the market in the event wireless charging takes off, hoping that it backed the leading standard.