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Wi-Fi Mobile Charging Set To Change Charging Standards

Wireless mobile device charging is set to get easier after the Wireless Power Consortium today launched Qi 1.0, a standard enabling interoperability for wireless inductive charging devices.

Qi provides for "a method of contactless power transfer from a base station to a mobile device, which is based on near field magnetic induction between coils", according to the standards document available on the consortium web site.

Charging devices would transfer about 5W of power and operate in the 110-205kHz frequency range. The standard allows support for two methods of placing the mobile device on the surface of the base station.

The first is "guided positioning", helping a user to properly place the mobile device on the surface of the base station power provider, while the second would allow placement of the device anywhere on the base station surface.

The introduction of a standard would greatly strengthen customer adoption of wireless charging technology if it were to become universally adopted.

Consortium chairman Menno Treffers said, "Qi can now be integrated into products. It took us only 18 months to develop Qi, and under a month for the first products to be certified."

There are currently several wireless charging methods available, from magnetic induction, to near- and far-field magnetic resistance.

The introduction of a wireless charging standard comes as mobile phone vendors are about to move to a single universal phone charger standard.

"Wireless charging has great potential to make charging easier for consumers", said Nokia mobile solutions R&D director Petri Vuori.

"For full user benefit, a standard ensuring cross-compatibility between different manufacturers' products is required," said Vuori.

There are over 55 members of the Wireless Power Consortium including battery manufacturer Duracell and mobile phone manufacturers Nokia, RIM, and Sony-Ericsson.

As part of its roadmap, the consortium said it would now start work on a wireless power standard for medium power devices including netbooks, laptops, tablet computers and power tools.

In this endeavour it will be competing with the new Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.3at Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) standard ratified last September.

This standard would allow netbooks and lower-power laptops to be charged through LAN connections with about 25W of power.

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