Qualcomm Inc., the co-founder of the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), has joined the board of management of the rival Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), giving rise to speculation that the two organizations could be about to merge.
The news that Qualcomm is joining the board of the Wireless Power Consortium was revealed by WPC chairman Menno Treffers in an article posted on the organization's website.
The WPC is managed by 24 companies that are the so-called regular members and which each have a vote in a board of management. Since its formation in 2008 the WPC has attracted more than 170 member companies in total. The organization's Qi standard for wireless energy transfer is deployed in more than 300 products, the organization claims.
However, mobile technology companies Qualcomm and Samsung announced the formation of the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) in May 2012. This was followed by the addition of Intel to the group in June 2013 (see Intel joins A4WP wireless charging group). After its first year of operation A4WP announced it had grown to more than 50 members and successfully proved the utility of its A4WP V1.0 specification by demonstrating product interoperability at PlugFest held in South Korea.
A4WP's next steps were expected to be the creation of certification and branding programs to provide consumers with a means of recognizing wireless products and charging mats that are compatible.
However, Qualcomm's involvement with WPC and its Qi standard may have put that in doubt. There has been a history of competition between the two bodies but also a sense that WPC has gained a first-mover advantage with millions of Qi-compliant products in the field. Its board of directors includes such names as HTC, LG Electronics, Nokia, Panasonic, Sony, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, and in his article Treffers announced the addition of Qualcomm and Verizon Wireless.
At present Qualcomm's WiPower technology is designed to be compatible with only the A4WP wireless charging specification. However Qi was recently selected for the in-car wireless charging standard for use by Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche, and Volkswagen: Qualcomm may feel that, at the very least, it now has to support both standards.