back to article Wireless charging standards war could be over 'as soon as 2015'

Standards wars are par for the course in the technology industry: CDMA v GSM, Blu-Ray v HD DVD, VHS v Betamax. When it comes to wireless power, there are three players in the field – but according to one, the war should be over far sooner than most people expect. Last month two of the three players in the wireless power field …


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  1. ammabamma

    Please tell me this does not mean what I think it means.

    > it isn’t just about eliminating power cables, but about enabling phones and tablets to communicate with new devices and using personal systems in new surroundings.

    Call me a pessimistic neo-luddite, but why in God's green earth does a battery charging standard need to include discovery and communication with new devices in new surroundings? I understand that there needs to be some degree of communication between charger and device to regulate the juice, but the article makes it sound like there is much more communication going on here. This sounds to me like the beginnings of the dreadful USB/CD-ROM autoplay, but for wireless chargers instead.

    It seems like the Qi supporters are hell-bent on providing all the nasties out there (both governmental and criminal, but I repeat myself) with more vectors to attack the one device that has become the master key to my digital life.

    I sincerely hope I am wrong and merely ignorant and this new Qi standard will dawn upon the world of consumer electronics like Venus from her sea-shell; perfect, sublime, well designed, and above all secure. (pffffffttt!)

    A pessimist, however, is seldom disappointed.

    1. Eradicate all BB entrants

      Re: Please tell me this does not mean what I think it means.

      Actually within a hotel this could be of benefit. Walk into room, place mobile on the charge pad and it passes the hotels wireless SSID and key to the device.

      Add more functionality for express checkout and other things it could be quite handy.

      As a pessimist myself I agree this could open more attack vectors to devices, but just like NFC doesn't mean we should not try. On a side note it seems NFC is not welcome in Hartlepool as their taxi drivers have been told to stop taking payments by bonking.

      1. aBloke FromEarth

        Re: Please tell me this does not mean what I think it means.

        "passes the hotels wireless SSID and key to the device"

        And then charges you twelve sodding quid a night for the privilege.

        1. Eradicate all BB entrants

          Re: Please tell me this does not mean what I think it means.

          Then you have a choice ..... breakfast or porn :)

      2. ammabamma
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Please tell me this does not mean what I think it means.

        > Walk into room, place mobile on the charge pad and it passes the hotels wireless SSID and key to the device.

        Add more functionality for express checkout and other things it could be quite handy.

        That is precisely my point. Why should a battery charger have access to/communicate to my wireless devices and shopping cart? Is there something I am missing?

        As a side note, if that really is the type of communication they want to bake into the Qi standard, I wonder how long before some clever sod creates a rogue wireless charger that sends a specially crafted packet that causes the phone to leak unexpected privacy related data like SSID and location of last networks joined, device ID and location of last wireless chargers used, cell phone number, ...

        1. Eradicate all BB entrants

          Re: Please tell me this does not mean what I think it means.

          I never said that it should, just that it could. And I am quite sure that you will be able to decide if you want your device to communicate or just charge.

          Hopefully this alternative suggestion might meet with your approval, removing the need for a USB cable when syncing music/photos/movies on the device of your choice? It's still an early stage technology, let's see what they can do with it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Please tell me this does not mean what I think it means.

      Place phone in charging shelf in car, connects to car kit etc.

  2. M Gale

    You can already use Bluetooth to stream music to your car for example, but in a couple of blocks the phone is out of power.

    Now I know people like to joke about smartphone battery life but, exaggeration much?

    Yes, let's toss the phone onto the dashboard so it can slide and fly all around the passenger cabin. Or, set it up in a cradle or a tray where it's securely held. By which point, erm, how much easier is this than a USB thing into the ciggy adapter?

    1. Number6

      If you build the transmitter coil into the cradle then you get the same effect. It doesn't have to be a flat pad. It does mean it's not built in though, given the varied size of phones, so you still end up with the cradle plugged into the cigarette lighter socket.

    2. James Cooke

      The Nexus 5 has magnets around the coil to aid correct positioning - you can easily use these to hold the phone to even a vertical surface.

      I have a phone mount - sadly without the Qi charger - that you just slap the phone on without having to fit it into a cradle or between arms and it is so much more convenient add in wireless charging and it would be perfect.

      1. David Cantrell

        It might hold the phone to a vertical surface under normal circumstances, but if the phone is to be easily removed from the charging point I doubt it would hold it under the sort of extreme acceleration you get in an accident, whereas a properly mounted cradle will.

        Having hard things flying around the cabin like missiles is Bad. I'd rather suffer the very minor inconvenience of having to pay a moment's attention when placing my phone in the cradle than run the risk of having the phone smack me or my passenger in the temple or eye when someone drives into the side of my car.

  3. DougS Silver badge

    Talk about a solution looking for a problem

    It is hardly a "substantial" costs to hotels to provide Lightning cables for guests who forget theirs. What do they need, one cable per every 30 or 50 guests? Yeah, that'll break the bank in a 500 room hotel that clears $100K a day! If the guest doesn't return it, add the cost to their bill.

    Charging pads cost far more (since I assume they'd install them in every room, if you are loaned them like a cable it is pointless - might as well loan those guests a cable) Given that there are still competing standards that could be quite high if the wireless charging standard you install loses out in a couple years. I imagine there were a few high end hotels that installed HD-DVD players to their eventual regret :)

    1. David Cantrell

      Re: Talk about a solution looking for a problem

      Of course, almost all hotels have far fewer rooms and charge a lot less than that.

    2. Robert Grant

      Re: Talk about a solution looking for a problem

      I agree entirely, except in the case where the number of rooms isn't 500, they don't clear $100k/day and/or they need more charging cables. Ie not a straw man example.

      Apple connectors have created a ridiculous problem for their users. Just try and work witha standard, Apple, and be done with it.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Talk about a solution looking for a problem

        Whatever the numbers in my "strawman" example it is hard to imagine how they'd need more cables than there are rooms, and even if they buy the official ones from Apple at full price (rather than talking to them about a chain-wide discount or freebie in some sort of quid pro quo) they still cost less than the rooms at any hotel that would think it is worthwhile to provide cables.

  4. John Tserkezis

    With some commercial chargers reaching AU$150.00, the "war" is far from over.

    Even some Qi standard chargers are pulling $50, but sellers on eBay are flogging them for $10 or so. This is stupid - it appears no-one, no-one is interested in how effective a charger is, rather than how much money they can scam them for.

    I call bullshit on 2015, this is going to get dragged out for a long, long time.

    1. Lionel Baden

      I agree

      It would be nice if the best technology won the standard.

      Most economical would be nice.

      1. NotWorkAdmin

        Re: I agree

        The $10 jobbies on eBay are almost certainly not built to the spec and you'd be disappointed.

        Obvious fanboy right here. I have the Zens and the Nexus QI chargers (one for work one for home). I wasn't sure before I got my first just how "good" it would be compared to plugging in a cable. The fact I bought a second should answer anyone who's wondering.

        And on a side note, once QI is in your ordering vocabulary you will win more games of Scrabble.

        1. Bradley

          Re: I agree

          In no way would I let you place qi in Scrabble.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I agree

          "The $10 jobbies on eBay are almost certainly not built to the spec and you'd be disappointed." Sorry., you're WRONG. There really is a lot of hype around pretending there is something complex about wireless charging.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My £10 charging pads work excellently with my Nexus 7 and Moto G. Moto G of course needed a £5 coil adaptor plugging in to its micro usb port, but since I have no requirement which needs this, it's a permanent fixture.

      QI works, no issues. And no need for enhancements either or indeed any other rival 'standards',.

  5. DropBear Silver badge

    Oh please...

    By putting a wireless power charger in there you can make the phone your entertainment hub for the trip.

    Fixed. Also, my car stereo has no bluetooth receiver but it sure does have a plain old 3.5mm jack - I don't lose fidelity like FM modulators tend to do, and any phone can simply play music for hours and hours if no radios are involved...

    1. Lionel Baden

      Re: Oh please...

      I certainly dont have all the fancy stuff in my 2CV, but i do have a stereo with a 3.5 jack with Bluetooth plugged in.

      I can happily drive an entire day with Bluetooth going on my experia Z. Although using sat nav as well does require plugging in as my phone does get drained somewhat fast.

      I was also under the impression wireless charging was only able to slow charge devices ? That kind of makes it pointless in a high power usage scenario, like Bluetooth & sat nav which negates the usefulness of having wireless charging in a car ?

      1. Thecowking

        Re: Oh please...

        It's definitely not slow charging, my nexus 4 charges as fast at least on the Zens pad by my bed as it ever did on a cable/wallwart.

        A Qi charger shouldn't have any issues keeping a phone topped off with the screen on, though I have seen some handsets drop charge while plugged in if they're thrashing the radios and CPU and screen, so it could still discharge slowly even while being charged on QI I suspect (but what I saw was on some benchmarking so probably not real world scenario).

  6. Tom 7 Silver badge

    They're already over

    I will be carrying round my own charger all the time just in case the wireless charger isnt there so its never going to be needed.

    Let alone having to worry about how certain companies seem to be able to implement standards for themselves alone.

  7. Don Dumb

    Mission Accomplished!

    the market should have decided by 2018, but I think it'll be closer to 2015," John Perzow, VP of market development for the WPC, told The Register.

    Man selling product says "don't buy any competing products, they're going to lose, buy mine, we've already won" shocker!. This so harks back to Goerge W Bush on the Aircraft Carrier.

    Dear El Reg - It would be helpful if a more independant source could give an opinion, or a reply from the opposition sought. Otherwise this just seems like a lifted WPC press release masquerading as a news article.

  8. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Yes, over

    "Over," as in nobody wants them and the product line is dead? There's always the tradeoff of how much power you can deliver versus how much power you want to leak into the surroundings. I'd rather have a simple and standardized mechanical connector that isn't fussy and fragile like microUSB. A flat connector that magnetically aligns and attaches itself would be awesome. Place the phone on it and it clicks into place. Pull the phone away and it detaches. It seems more robust, cheaper, and could deliver lots of power without EM radiation risks.

    1. Oninoshiko

      Re: Yes, over

      Actually, if they standardize it, and can get it into a follow-on for my Rugby Pro, I would love this. I could keep all the benefits of a fully ruggedized phone, without having to fiddle with the dust and water covers on the charge port.

      I also think I'd be less likely to forget to charge the thing.

  9. anthonyjohnson

    I don’t have Audi but I still installed a wireless car charger that I recently purchased from Amazon . Well it’s good to see that two companies are joined and hope WPC also joined hand so that we will continue to get better product from these tech giant.

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