08
May
wipower-hero

Amongst the smorgasbord of features Samsung announced for its newest flagship device the Galaxy SIII, the wireless charging accessory seemed the most no-brainer. Wireless power has been a dream for almost everyone, but aside from short-lived products, such as the Touchstone that was available for Palm's Pré phones, they have not really become a reality.

Today Samsung and Qualcomm, together with a group of other technology companies, announced a new initiative that aims to promote the "global standardization of a wireless power transfer technology". The appropriately named "Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP)" will help create an affordable wireless charging solution for a range of consumer electronic devices, from low power ones, such as Bluetooth headsets, to battery draining tablets.

The benefits of A4WP's wireless power approach, include: "a transmitter and receiver antenna design that is easily implemented, a simple wireless power control system, and the ability to transfer power through non-metallic surfaces". Most wireless charging solutions till now have required a metallic surface, and A4WP's solution may allow wireless charging stations that seamlessly fit into your household.

A4WP will help develop product testing, a certification program, regulatory compliance processes, as well as support marketing activities with the intent to expand the wireless charging technology ecosystem.

Qualcomm brings its wireless power expertise in the form of its "WiPower" technology, which uses inductive wireless energy transfer and has enjoyed limited success.

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The other members of the alliance include, Ever Win Industries, Gill Industries, Peiker Acustic, Powermat Technologies, and SK Telecom.

For more details check out the press release below:

Global Technology Power Players Unite to Form Alliance for Wireless Power Creating Spatial Freedom in Consumer Electronics Charging

CTIA WIRELESS 2012

SAN DIEGO & SEOUL, South Korea--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Wireless technology leaders Samsung and Qualcomm Incorporated have joined other technology leaders to form the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), it was announced today.

“As an innovation leader, Gill’s goal is to provide embedded wireless power solutions to our global customers in the automotive and furniture industry that increase productivity while enabling and enriching users’ lives. The A4WP will ensure the standardization needed to provide a true and ubiquitous wireless charging infrastructure.”

The independently operated organization’s mission is to promote global standardization of a wireless power transfer technology that offers spatial freedom, to develop product testing, certification and regulatory compliance processes, and to foster industry dialogue with regulators on wireless power policy development. The alliance is targeting a broad base of consumer electronic devices to establish a worldwide wireless power technology ecosystem.

The A4WP will focus on a new wireless power transfer technology that provides spatial freedom for charging of electrical devices in cars, on tabletops and for multiple devices simultaneously.

Benefits of this wireless power approach include: a transmitter and receiver antenna design that is easily implemented, a simple wireless power control system, and the ability to transfer power through non-metallic surfaces. The A4WP expects to achieve this capability without the need for costly multi-coil repeaters, which are required for other systems. A single specification is envisioned that will address simultaneous charging of multiple devices ranging from very low power products, such as Bluetooth headsets, to today’s most sophisticated tablets.

The A4WP is open to new members and welcomes participation from vendors in all segments of the potential ecosystem, including: handheld devices, consumer electronics, semiconductor products, automotive, furniture, test equipment, cellular operators, and retail.

Alliance members will be available to discuss membership opportunities at the launch event on May 8, to be held at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, USA, during CTIA Wireless 2012.

According to the analyst firm IMS Research, shipments of wireless power enabled devices are projected to surpass 100 million by 2015.

Jason dePreaux, a research manager at IMS Research comments, “Wireless power has the potential to increase convenience and improve the user experience in consumer devices like mobile phones by untethering the charging process. For these benefits to be realized, wireless power infrastructure must be deployed to enable wireless charge points in the home, at work, or while traveling without concern for compatibility. Industry alliances will play a critical role in developing this infrastructure.”

“Qualcomm is delighted to be involved in this dynamic initiative to set the standard for wireless power. WiPower™ Technology by Qualcomm is ideally suited for a forum like the A4WP. As a leader in delivering enabling technology solutions, Qualcomm is helping to define the next-generation consumer electronics experience,” said Derek Aberle, Executive Vice President and Group President, Qualcomm. “Going forward, we hope to welcome additional companies and organizations who are looking to contribute towards setting the best possible standard for wireless power.”

"A4WP will accelerate the commercialization of this technology and will contribute to expanding its market. As a founding member of A4WP, Samsung is committed to supporting standardization of wireless charging technology boasting spatial freedom, contributing to the eco-system, and exploring possibilities of a variety of services," said Executive Vice President KiHo Kim, head of Digital Media & Communications R&D Center, Samsung Electronics.

Joining Qualcomm and Samsung are: Ever Win Industries, Gill Industries, Peiker Acustic, Powermat Technologies, and SK Telecom.

Editors notes:

A4WP will focus on the standardization of a wireless charging solution offering spatial freedom, a certification program and supporting marketing activities with the intent to expand the wireless charging technology eco-system.

In addition, members will also work on the following:

Set up and issue technical specifications

Collaboration on a wireless charging solution ecosystem

Co-operation with existing industry organizations

Securing new members from across the industry

MEMBER QUOTES

Henry Chen, President, Ever Win International Corporation, states: “As a developer, designer and manufacturer of consumer electronic products, Ever Win International looks forward to the standardization of a wireless power solution offering spatial freedom. Such a wireless charging solution will further enhance our wireless lifestyles. The technology also offers a tremendous amount of flexibility in product design. Ever Win International is very excited to develop new and innovative wireless charging accessories based on the standards set forth by the Alliance for Wireless Power.”

“Gill Industries is excited to be part of the A4WP and partner with such outstanding innovators and leaders in their respective market segments,” said the company’s President and COO Richard Perreault. “As an innovation leader, Gill’s goal is to provide embedded wireless power solutions to our global customers in the automotive and furniture industry that increase productivity while enabling and enriching users’ lives. The A4WP will ensure the standardization needed to provide a true and ubiquitous wireless charging infrastructure.”

Peiker Acustic COO Marketing & Sales, Reinhard Kromer-von Baerle said: “As a leading supplier of mobile communication technology in the automotive area, Peiker is aware of the demands of its broad OEM customer base. To make the integration as comfortable as possible for the end consumer an adaptive charging solution is essential for our all-wirelessapproach, which also covers all multimedia and antenna functionality. The standardization realized by A4WP is one important step to secure support of current and future devices and establish this wireless charging ecosystem.”

“Wireless power becomes transformative when mobile devices are recharged automatically through a seamless network of wireless power,” said Daniel Schreiber, President of Powermat Technologies. We look forward to working with our partners at the A4WP on extending the physical layer of wireless power so that consumers everywhere continue to enjoy the very best this technology has to offer.”

SK Telecom’s Senior Vice President of Network Technology R&D Center, Jong Ryeol Kang, stated: “We believe wireless charging technology will be the most common way to power mobile devices in the near future. SK Telecom is constantly investigating new and innovative technologies to enhance mobile life and believes the A4WP specification, with its clear path towards implementation, is the way forward.

Abhiroop Basu
Abhiroop Basu is an opinionated tech and digital media blogger. As a doe-eyed twenty-something he started his first blog TechComet to comment on anything tech-related that caught his omniscient eye. Since then he has blogged for Android Police, Make Tech Easier, and This Green Machine. In the real world, Abhiroop Basu is a resident of Singapore and the Editor of The Digit, a subsidiary of The Potato Productions Group.

  • http://digg.com/users/OmegaWolf Silver Fang

    I hope wireless charging does become real. It would certainly be more convenient than plugging the phone in.

  • http://profiles.google.com/scottoldfield Scott Oldfield

    Am I the only one not so about wireless power? Instead of pushing a plug into my phone, I'd lay it on a mat. To me that does seem like such a bid deal. Plus the mat takes up more space than a tiny plug. Don't get me wrong, I think it's kinda cool, but I certainly would buy it if it increased the cost at all. Maybe I'm missing something?

    • Thiago Souza

      Yes you are. The mat is a limitation and will be deprecated.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/abhiroop-basu/ Abhiroop Basu

      Eventually (I believe) wireless power will envelop your entire household, office, car, etc. So all you would need to do is walk into a "powered" area and your device would start charging.

      • http://profiles.google.com/scottoldfield Scott Oldfield

        That is my hope as well...and that make A LOT of sense to me. If I don't have to take the device out of my pocket to get charged, I'm sold!

  • Chahk

    Why are they concentrating on the wrong thing again?  Instead of giving us more ways to charge our mobile devices, how about investing into finding ways to recharge them less often?

    • Ryan Officer

      I definitely agree. on the other hand this is kind of cool. plus I think Battery technology relies on other manufacturing companies research. I could be wrong though.   

      • Chahk

        That never stopped Samsung before.  They are pretty much into everything these days, so why not research?

        I won't deny the "cool" factor though.  Bought a power mat for my son's Wii remotes.  Sure as hell beats changing the batteries every few weeks.

    • JonJJon

      Agreed, I would like to see higher capacity batteries that last longer and that perhaps charge quickly without a short usable life, I'm not into this thinner is better fad, I want a smartphone usable for the entire day on medium usage with battery left to spare at the end of it. More wireless technology means more radio-waves flying around the home, surely eventually wifi networks will become increasingly unstable lol

      • spydie

        I think you guys are missing the point.  With wireless charging you get the best from both worlds... a thinner phone and more battery life.  I'm not in the thinner-phone camp and have said for years, give me a fatter phone with more battery.  However, with the thinness wars (is it just in the developer's imagination that this is what the public wants?  Or is it a fact?), we need a savior.  If my phone is constantly charging via the airwaves wherever I'm at, what do I care how thin it is?

        • Freak4Dell

          But you'll still need one of those pads, and if you're going to buy extras to take with you to work or whatever, then you might as well just do a normal charger. Either way, your phone is stuck in one spot.

    • Lefty2717

      I seriously doubt they have removed all research on improving battery life. Just because a medical research facility is doing research on diabetes does not mean they don't have someone doing research on cancer right? But how nice would it be for the local coffee shop being able to charge your tablet or laptop without having to find a plug?

    • http://profiles.google.com/lawsofgod Jesse Munos

      This seem to me to be a very uninformed sentiment. Battery tech has been steadily improving for essentially forever, however the idea of simply dumping more money into materials development doesn't necessarily mean that we will have better batteries tomorrow, these things take time and they are being researched at what is essentially breakneck speed. On top of that chip manufacturers and designers are constantly improving the efficiency of their designs and simultaneously improving the abilities of those designs.  Every new generation of battery holds more power while every generation of chips provides more processing abilities at lower power consumption. 

      As for wireless charging: This concept only makes sense, no one wants to carry chargers with them everywhere (I know, all my tech is old and I have to). And regardless of how long the battery lasts, a charger will always be needed. Better that the manufacturers design a standard together now, than we find ourselves back in the same boat we were in not to long ago where every phone has its own charger and every charger is insanely expensive. 

      • Chahk Noir

        I don't know which phones you've been using lately, but I haven't seen much improvement in this area from the original G1, to Nexus One, to Galaxy Nexus. Aside from one fluke (RAZR MAXX) there's been a chase of thinness in lieu of decent capacity batteries across the board. Any power savings offered by new chipsets with higher energy efficiency is cannibalized by the larger screen sizes on most newer phones.

        Current batteries in all mobile devices are still based on decades old Lithium-Ion technology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-ion_battery#Modern_batteries Dumping more money into research is exactly what's needed. New technologies already exist (http://engt.co/ticDjY http://bit.ly/tkQylK ) and need backing of such electronics giants as Samsung.

        I won't deny the convenience of wireless charging. It just seems like a cop-out, the easy way: make recharging easier (while making a few bucks along the way selling the accessories separately) instead of investing into solving a more complex problem.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/QKIOYBMRNMBTFZ4JAZJGIWECXY Misd

      I recommend this phone! Prices are more reasonable! Better than the other!A9220 GSM + WCDMA dual sim 3G smartphone   http://wk.tk/tppfZp

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jack-N-Fran-Farrell/100002337622505 Jack N Fran Farrell

    Tesla was right. Try doing this with DC current, Thomas Alva Edison!

  • ShanneLiszewski

    the question can you also perform wired charging, those times when your battery is about to die, and your in the middle of an important conversation or game!!

  • Sandy McArthur

    How is wireless power not terribly inefficient (wasteful)?

    • Trevor Payne

      That's what they are working on.  They are trying to standardize an efficient induction waveform and coil along with improving the efficiency of the charging circuitry involved.

      • Lincoln Maurice

         Being able to deploy that kind of smarts would have an enormous impact on relieving energy costs in general, and for bluetooth devices to minimise energy when idling (since they're almost as power hungry out of use as in use).

  • thetrystero

    Lest we fall into the trap of excessive enthusiasm to the point of ignoring potential hazards of new dangled technology, I would like to see more critical analyses from blogs etc about the electromagnetic emissions standards of a4wp et. al. I'm disappointed by the lack of attention in this one awfully glaring area of concern.

    • Trevor Payne

      During the adoption of electric power in residential households, people initially feared that the electricity would arc out of the outlet like lightning and kill you.

      Inductive charging solutions have been in usage for years in multiple industries.  High tension wires induce electrical current around them in the magnitudes of hundreds of volts.

      A 5volt charger is not going to have enough of an induction field to adversely affect the environment in a meaningful way.  They aren't really developing any new technology or breaking new ground in this space.  They are simply standardizing a induction coil and improving the charging circuitry.  

      Save your tinfoil hat for WIFI and Cell signals.  Those EMF patters are many magnitudes stronger than anything these charging pads will put out.

      • KL Tah

        true wireless charging would allow for charging from a distance within a certain radius of a charging transmitter vs plopping it down on a charging matt (whence sammy's current misnomer re s3), which i assume is what a4wp is working towards. i don't even have a back of the envelope calculation so i'm not gonna pass judgement on the 5v figure now. even if it were not the case that power >> signal as my first blush intuition would lead me to believe, large companies should never be let off the hook from transparent and rigorous testing on such basic matters. i think it's fair to say that the precautionary principle applies here.

        • Deltaechooe

          Well i can tell you that it takes significantly higher electric potential for the current to arc off the charging pad at least.  As for the electromagnetic waves, these aren't high powered enough to break into DNA so no, you won't get cancer from inductive charging on this scale.

        • Trevor Payne

          It definitely would be more than 5v for making the proper induction current to provide 5v wireless, but notice that I said 5v charger, not that it would be outputting only 5 volts.  I would eat my hat if it was able to induce any more than 15 volts with a charging mat like this.  

      • Lincoln Maurice

         I used to live in a place that every time you switched on the dryer at the same time as an oil heater, sparks would literally fly out of the wall and short the whole house. It was a good party trick. Didn't do much towards the power bill.

  • askher

    Ummm my TAG hasn't needed a battery or a charge in 15 years but it was 5 grand. My watch is smarter that my smart phone. Idiots.

    • Lincoln Maurice

       Umm... yeah, I'm not even going to start.

  • cancerous_it

    apple is going to sue in 2 years for patent infringement.