Wireless charging nears unification as Powermat cedes to Qi

"Qi has become the dominant wireless charging standard on the market," admitted Powermat.

Consumers have been living with multiple wireless charging standards for six years, but those annoying times are nearly over. Powermat, which uses the Airfuel Inductive standard that is the only real contender to the dominant format Qi, has joined the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) and now backs Qi. "Qi has become the dominant wireless charging standard on the market and the recently launched Apple iPhone lineup is evidence of this success," Powermat said in a statement. "[We] will share technology innovation to further unlock wireless charging potential, and will expedite the growth of the wireless charging infrastructure."

Airfuel Inductive was barely hanging on as a standard, but as it mentioned, Apple's favoring of Qi for its upcoming chargers pretty much sealed its fate. Powermat was forced to upgrade its chargers to support Qi at Starbucks locations, for instance, so that Apple's Qi-supported iPhone X- and 8-owning clients could juice up.

Until a few years ago, there were essentially three standards: the Alliance for Wireless Power, the Power Matters Alliance (not joking) and Qi, which was already the dominant player. The first two merged to form the Airfuel Alliance in 2015, of which Powermat was a player.

Powermat says it will to work on developing future tech that allows for "higher power and expanded special freedom," while maintaining backward compatibility with the Qi ecosystem. That will greatly simplify the market, making it infinitely easier for consumers -- especially uninformed ones -- to get products that work with their devices.

"By joining WPC, it further unifies the wireless charging ecosystem behind the Qi global standard, which will accelerate wireless charging adoption and make it more convenient for consumers to use wireless charging wherever they go," Powermat wrote.

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