Powermat gives in to Qi, moves wireless charging closer to uniformity

Enlarge / The Qi-compatible Nexus 5 on the Nexus Wireless Charger. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Wireless charging company Powermat has joined the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) in a move that looks to further unify wireless charging tech behind the popular Qi standard.

Powermat—which has long pushed the PMA wireless charging standard as Qi’s primary competitor—quietly announced the move last week. The company is a leading player in the AirFuel Alliance, a wireless charging standards body that formed in 2015 with the merger of two other organizations, the Alliance for Wireless Power and the Power Matters Association. Powermat has largely stood opposite Qi and the WPC.

Qi has won the lion’s share of the wireless charging market in recent years, though. Its dominance came to a head last fall after Apple threw its weight behind the standard with its new iPhone X and iPhone 8 phones. This more-or-less sealed Powermat’s fate and led stores like Starbucks—which had previously supported Powermat over Qi through its in-store wireless charging pads—to update its chargers to support both formats.

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