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A4WP, PMA merge for charging standards, technologies

15 Jan 2015  | Paul Buckley

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The Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) and Power Matters Alliance (PMA) have joined forces to push for the availability and deployment of wireless charging technology on a global scale.

The A4WP and PMA have agreed in principal to the terms of the merger that is expected to close by mid-2015. The merger caps a productive year between the two organisations that announced a separate collaboration agreement in February 2014.

So far, a name for the latest organisation has not been finalised. Back in February 2014, the A4WP signed an agreement with the PMA with the aim of establishing global interoperability of the two wireless power standards.

Prior to the merger, A4WP was dedicated to building a wireless charging ecosystem based on Rezence, which is a wireless power transfer technology, and specification based on the principles of magnetic resonance.

One of the key objectives of the organisation will be to accelerate the transition to volume economies of scale of wireless power transfer technology to benefit consumers, mobile network operators, consumer-facing commercial and retail brands and the consumer electronics industry, including its semiconductor and manufacturing partners. Consumers will gain access to an enhanced battery charging and power management experience sooner across the full spectrum of devices in daily use. 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. For the consumer electronics industry, in particular, the benefit will be the creation of a competitive, multi-source and innovative supplier base to drive value-added features into product roadmaps across a broad range of devices from Bluetooth headsets to wearables to smartphones, and on up to tablets, notebooks and laptops, among many others.

The merger is set to rival the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) that promotes the Qi charging system and claims to be used in more than 600 products including 70 smartphones. WPC has more than 200 members including Audi, Fairchild Semiconductor, Freescale Semiconductor, IKEA, Microsoft, Nokia, NXP, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Toshiba and Verizon.

"The standards war narrative presents a false choice," said Kamil Grajski, Board Chair and President, Alliance for Wireless Power. Consider that the typical mass-market smartphone contains a multiplicity of radio technologies (Bluetooth, NFC, WiFi, 3G, LTE) each built around a vibrant ecosystem, whereas other devices are single-mode (Bluetooth headset). The A4WP PMA merger is in the same spirit: enable the market to apply technologies to their best use cases.

"The key to volume economics is to combine best-in-class wireless power transfer technology with innovative cloud-based network services," said Ron Resnick, President, Power Matters Alliance.

The A4WP and PMA Boards will combine and feature a number of global consumer brands, supply chains and market leaders including AT&T, Broadcom, Duracell, Flextronics, Gill Electronics, Huawei, Integrated Device Technologies (IDT), Intel, Powermat, Samsung Electronics, Samsung Electro-Mechanics, Starbucks and WiTricity.

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