While regular people have spent the last five years wondering what’s wrong with cables, the nascent wireless charging industry has been battling over standards. Thanks to a recent industry shakeup, there are now only two different types of wireless charging for everyone to ignore.
Two of the big names in the game, the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) and the Power Matters Alliance (PMA), have merged, creating the AirFuel Alliance. It now remains as the sole challenger to the Wireless Power Consortium, the group behind the semi-successful Qi wireless charging standard.
Qi is the charging standard you might have actually have heard of: it’s the one built into most recent Samsung flagship phones, older Nokia Lumias, and select IKEA furniture. But it’s increasingly been challenged by PMA and A4WP, who seem to have the upper hand technology-wise.
More than anything else, though, wireless charging has been hamstrung by a fairly universal consumer indifference, driven by the fact that wireless charging takes longer than wired charging. Since it’s also very much a work in progress, no-one wants to buy a bunch of expensive and soon-to-be-obsolete charging pads, and manufacturers don’t want to wholeheartedly commit to the next Betamax.
So, while the merger is most likely a good thing — less fragmentation makes life easier for consumers and manufactueres alike — don’t retire your fleet of micro-USB cables just yet.