Vid The Alliance for Wireless Power has approved its own standard and is promising products soon in the hope that its superior technology will help it fight back against rival Qi's first-to-market advantage.
The Qi standard is being pushed by the Wireless Power Consortium, and is already in the Nexus 4 and Nokia Lumia phones, but the Alliance still reckons its ability to charge from a greater distance and simultaneously charge multiple devices will win out - despite the competition's efforts to implement the same functionality.
The Alliance standard is known as a4wp, at least until the newly formed "brandling committee" can come up with something better. Version one was locked down last week and now the Alliance is working on conformance criteria and testing, and a new video showing exactly why a4wp is superior to the Qi standard:
The latest versions of Qi, being shown off at CES, can charge multiple devices, and spatial freedom (charging from a few centimetres away) will be covered by extensions to the standard... but the a4wp, as the vid shows, does that better right now.
It's all in demonstrations, however. We don't know how well it's going to work in the real world as there aren't any a4wp products yet, unlike Qi. Spatial freedom is supposed to let us forget about charging entirely, letting our devices sip power from chairs, cars and desks without us consciously deciding to connect them, even wirelessly.
The existing kit from Qi, including Nokia's Lumia and Google's Nexus 4, is some way off that - one might not have to plug in a cable but one does have to place the phone in roughly the right location - so if the Alliance can make the technology work then there is still a market to grab.
But probably not for long. The Alliance claims 30 members, but most of them are chip makers and many have joined both sides. The only names which matter are Qualcomm and Samsung, with Samsung still (characteristically) hedging its bets with membership of the Consortium while publically backing the Alliance, unlike Nokia, Motorola, LG, HTC, Huawei and more than a hundred others who are exclusively with the Consortium.
The battle, like so many others, is about patents and who makes money off wireless charging in the long run, while actual users are the last to get a say in what technology wins. However, it seems unlikely the mass market is going to support two incompatible standards so there will be winners and losers here, eventually. ®
Sponsored: Webcast: Simplify data protection on AWS