Wireless smartphone charging has been present in handset for ages by this point; the old Touchstone charger for webOS phones launched over four years ago. And while the technology has found much wider acceptance in the time since then, it’s still not quite to the point where it’s as ubiquitous as some of its advocates would like – and certainly, the more widespread wireless charging becomes, the more potentially useful we find it. One of the big stumbling blocks in the way of its growth has been the stubborn insistence by parties involved to fight over multiple charging standards – and as a result, we end up with phone/charger incompatibilities. While it would be absolutely lovely if these firms could all get their acts together and rally around a single standard, Broadcom may have the next best thing, announcing today a new wireless charging chip that works with all existing standards.
Broadcom’s BCM59350 SoC is compatible with charging standards implemented by members of the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), Power Matters Alliance (PMA), and the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) – it’s that last one that’s behind Qi.
The new chip has other benefits beyond just multi-standard support, like high efficiency and support for boost mode charging. The company informs us that it’s now sampling the chip with OEMs, but there’s no word on when it might make it into a commercial product. Still, this is one development that could be huge for wireless charging, and if we see the BCM59350 (and future chips like it) really catch on, that could go a long way towards promoting interest in wireless charging’s further expansion.