Major wireless charging groups team up for the technology's future

The three biggest wireless charging standard groups are now down by one, because two of them have decided to join forces. Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and The Alliance For Wireless Power (A4WP) have just made signed a Letter of Intent to merge on the dotted line. The merger, which will operate under a new name, will be finalized by mid-2015, and the two groups hope it can give the technology a boost. "Consumers will gain access to an exciting and enhanced battery charging and power management experience sooner across the full spectrum of devices in daily use," the groups' press release said. "Mobile network operators and commercial and retail brands can commit to the necessary investment confident of stable, long-term evolution and management of innovative wireless charging technologies."

PMA, by the way, champions a standard based on inductive coupling, while A4WP uses controlled magnetic fields. Their merger leaves out Wireless Power Consortium's Qi standard, which is perhaps the most popular among the three major options and combines resonance and inductive technologies. Qualcomm (an A4WP member and PMA member) senior director Mark Hunsicker said the two groups are open to teaming up with WPC in the future, though: "We are ready, willing and able to have those conversations," he told The Wall Street Journal. Aside from Qualcomm, A4WP members include Dell, Intel and Samsung. PMA is backed by AT&T, Duracell, Starbucks and Powermat, among others, while WPC members include Asus, Microsoft, Blackberry, Panasonic, LG, Huawei and Toshiba.