Samsung, Qualcomm join forces on wireless charging standard‎

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Wireless charging has been around for a while — the late Palm Pre famously supported it three years ago — but the technology is set to receive a major push thanks to industry giants Samsung Electronics and Qualcomm. The two firms have joined forces to form the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), which will focus on developing an alternative to the Wireless Power Consortium's Qi standard.

One of the aspects upon which the A4WP hopes to advance wireless charging is allowing for "spatial freedom" between gadgets and the charging source, enabling power transfer through non-metallic surfaces. The idea is to take cable-free charging away from cumbersome sleeves and mats, as the tech is implemented today, and instead embed charging surfaces on anything from a table to a car dashboard.

The Alliance says its wireless charging platform will be able to power multiple devices simultaneously. They aim to develop a single set of specifications that’s flexible enough to support wireless charging for low-power products, like Bluetooth headsets, as well as more power-hungry gadgets like smartphones and tablets.

Products that offer wireless charging are slowly becoming more commonplace and Samsung hopes to lead its latest venture by example, introducing a wireless charging kit for the Galaxy S III smartphone at some point in the near future. According to market research firm IMS Research, the number of handsets supporting wireless charging is expected to grow to more than 100 million units by 2015.

Other companies joining Samsung and Qualcomm to form the Alliance for Wireless Power include Duracell-Powermat Technologies, Ever Win Industries, Gill Industries, Peiker Acustic, and SK Telecom.

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