qi

Qi Group Announces Wireless Power Prototypes

The Wireless Power Consortium has announced certified iPhone and BlackBerry chargers using the ‘Qi’ wireless power spec

On by Matthew Broersma 11

The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) has launched version 1.0 of its specification for charging handsets and other devices wirelessly, to be marketed under the name “Qi”, and has certified initial products for Blackberry and iPhone devices.

The product announcements come a year after the consortium announced version .95 of the spec. The products, including chargers for iPhone and BlackBerry devices, are to be demonstrated at a WPC meeting later this month.

Qi is based on inductive power transmission, already used in products such as the Touchstone charging dock used by the Palm Pre and the charging station for the Wii gaming console remote control. Such chargers allow a device to charge when placed on a flat surface or in a sleeve or dock. They eliminate the need for the connection of a metal contact connection, such as is found in standard cordless phone chargers.

‘Most’ mobile devices covered

The consortium, which includes Samsung, Sanyo, Olympus, Philips and Texas Instruments, aims to standardise inductive power charging technology so that chargers can be used with any device bearing the Qi logo. The specification is suitable for devices using up to 5 Watts of power, which the WPC said should cover “the majority of handheld mobile devices”.

“Qi can now be integrated into products. All ingredients for growing the market are now on the table,” said WPC chair Menno Treffers, in a statement.

Initial Qi-certified products are to include a charging sleeve for the iPhone 3GS and 3G and a charger for the Blackberry Curve 8900, both to be launched by Energizer this autumn. Sanyo, ST-Ericsson, National Semiconductor and others said they are working on Qi products.

Prototypes are to be demonstrated at a WPC meeting in Eindhoven, Netherlands, from 15 to 16 September. The WPC said it has now begun work on a wireless charging specification for devices requiring more power, including netbooks, laptops, tablet computers and power tools.

The consortium said it chose the brand Qi (pronounced “chee”) to refer to the concept of energy flow in traditional Chinese medicine, not the cult quiz show QI (for “quite interesting”) hosted by Stephen Fry on British TV.

The technology is less ambitious than the system demonstrated this summer by Witricity, which operates at a distance of a few metres, using resonance, which the company claims has green benefits through replacing disposable batteries.

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11 replies to Qi Group Announces Wireless Power Prototypes

  • On September 3, 2010 at 1:38 pm by tomás zerolo

    Oh greeny.

    Whatever is tagged as green IT these days. Comparing a good ol’ cable (next to 100% efficient between charger and device) and some form of electromagnetic transfer (what: 80% if you are very optimistic!), this should be rather labelled as anti-green.

    Corps are just rotten. Ick.

    • On September 6, 2012 at 12:22 am by Martin

      Well, but regular chargers have an efficency of only 80 – 90 % as well!

  • On September 3, 2010 at 2:23 pm by Peter Judge

    Tomas – you are absolutely right!

    Wasteful inductive charging is less green than efficient charging over wires.

    We have taken this story out of the Green category.

    Peter Judge

  • On September 3, 2010 at 3:42 pm by James Mead

    Dont be so thick guys. “Green”, if it has any meaning, surely can’t be based purely off a measure of power efficiency. How many electronic devices are discarded each year because the power connector breaks? What about more convenient and ubiquitous power being available leading to a reduction in necessary battery capacity, as well as battery life improvements through shallower cycling. And lets not consider the possibility of battery free devices, lacking the “non-green” practice of mining and manufacturing battery cells containing toxic and/or energy intensive materials. I could go on.

  • On September 3, 2010 at 3:55 pm by Anonymous

    The argument for green is not in the wireless charging – it is in batteries.

    Pretend you have a wireless power “signal” if you will, resonating from an outlet in your living room. It can then power your TV remotes, gaming controllers, and that little indoor helicopter you like to fly around. In turn that eliminates the need for batteries in these devices, which is in fact more green.

    Straight up charging of devices I will agree with you. The power loss over WiP (wireless power) is heavy and therefore wasteful. …Then again, on a large scale, so is producing power in a place like Arizona and transferring it 1,000 miles to California… Yet we still do it.

    Maybe someday when the country uses 100% renewable energy we can stop caring about the power loss over WiP. :D

  • On September 3, 2010 at 3:55 pm by Peter Judge

    Good points James.

    I see that wireless power could be a step towards things being greener – batteries are massively inefficient, and very non-green when you consider chemicals and pollutants.

    At this stage, inductive wireless charging is not going to reduce anyone’s carbon footprint – but we can see where it might go.

    Peter

  • On September 3, 2010 at 3:55 pm by Anonymous

    The argument for green is not in the wireless charging – it is in batteries.

    Pretend you have a wireless power “signal” if you will, resonating from an outlet in your living room. It can then power your TV remotes, gaming controllers, and that little indoor helicopter you like to fly around. In turn that eliminates the need for batteries in these devices, which is in fact more green.

    Straight up charging of devices I will agree with you. The power loss over WiP (wireless power) is heavy and therefore wasteful. …Then again, on a large scale, so is producing power in a place like Arizona and transferring it 1,000 miles to California… Yet we still do it.

    Maybe someday when the country uses 100% renewable energy we can stop caring about the power loss over WiP…

  • On September 4, 2010 at 1:57 am by Jeremy Sharp

    Eindhoven is not in Belgium. It’s in the Netherlands.

  • On September 4, 2010 at 9:45 am by Gert

    Eindhoven in Belgium? Hmm… Maybe we should sell it to the Belgians.

  • On September 6, 2010 at 6:46 am by Peter Judge

    D’oh! Sorry to all Belgians and Dutch

  • On September 9, 2010 at 3:00 pm by Romain

    Well what we have to really look into is the fact that not only WiP will reduce the amount of batteries used in the whole world but mostly will reduce the amount of power used by devices.

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