Standard set for universal wireless charger

The Wireless Power Consortium has said that standards are now in place for manufacturers to deliver products that work with the universal Qi base
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor

The Wireless Power Consortium has finalised a standard for wireless charging of mobile devices, bringing universal charging for products one step closer to reality.

On Friday, the trade alliance said that it has agreed upon specifications for three key areas of the Qi low-power standard, which is based on magnetic induction technology. The three areas are interface definition, which outlines the requirements for power transfer between the transmitter and receiver; the performance requirements; and the test procedure for compliance with the standard.

The specifications for the interface definition has been released to consortium members, with the public release set for 30 August. Information on the other standards will be given to group members only, the consortium said. The announcement means that member manufacturers can now get to work on Qi-based devices, though each piece of hardware will still need to be certified.

"We finalised everything that is necessary to develop products, get them tested, certified,and distributed with the Qi logo. That is the Qi standard itself (the technical specification); test procedures; certification services; and the logo licence agreement that gives the right to use the logo," a spokesman for the Wireless Power Consortium told ZDNet UK.

Devices that are interoperable with the wireless chargers will have a logo showing Qi — an alternate spelling of 'Chi', meaning 'energy flow'.

The Qi system uses an induction base similar to Palm's proprietary Touchstone charger and promises to provide up to 5W of power via magnetic induction. When a Qi-capable product such as a mobile phone is placed on a base charger, a unit inside converts the electrical power to wireless power signals. A corresponding unit housed in a receiver in the phone turns the signals back into power.

To save energy, the base station automatically switches into standby mode when the device is fully charged or no device is present.

The 27-strong Wireless Power Consortium counts mobile device makers HTC, Nokia, LG, Research In Motion and Samsung among its members, alongside companies such as Duracell, Olympus, Philips and Texas Instruments. The group has focused on a standard for devices that use less than 5W of power, such as mobile phones and portable media players, though it does plan to offer charging solutions for more power-hungry products in the future.


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