Wireless charging standards for smartphones got off to a bumpy start, and beyond shopper confusion over which handsets supported it at all, we had some competing, incompatible implementations to deal with: head over to Starbucks intent on charging your phone via table-top PMA wireless pad, and you might be out of luck if your phone only supports Qi charging. But this year things are really improving, and beyond the arrival of hardware designed to work just fine with multiple charging standards, we’ve also seen steps towards the groups behind those standards merging; back in January word arrived that the Alliance for Wireless Power and the Power Matters Alliance were to become a singular entity. Today the two finally announce just how that’s happening, as they set up shop under a new name: the AirFuel Alliance.
For consumers, this mainly means we’ll be seeing the emergence of the new AirFuel name and logo on compatible phones and chargers, while existing PMA and A4WP branding falls out of use.
AirFuel will continue to be distinct from WPC and its Qi technology, so while we’re still looking at a field with two main players, those technological improvements we mentioned earlier in the form of dual-mode support will only help to render the difference less and less important when shopping for phones and chargers; so long as both AirFuel and Qi support are present, you should be good to go.
Companies backing AirFuel include Starbucks, AT&T, Duracell, MediaTek, Intel, Samsung, and Qualcomm.