The Qi wireless charging standard is now capable of delivering 15 watts of power to mobile phones, according to the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC). The advancement means Qi-enabled devices will be able to "fast charge" wirelessly, imitating accelerated wired charging that provides as much as 60 percent battery life in half an hour of charging.
According to the WPC, this specification is the first of its kind in the wireless charging arena. The improvement is the result of a draft released by the WPC in February that included a second announcement for future plans to charge multiple devices simultaneously on one Qi transmitter.
The new Qi spec is currently available only to WPC customers, though the organization says the update will be available to the public at an undisclosed future date. The update is compatible with existing versions of the Qi standard. While no specific devices were acknowledged as supporting the new standard, Samsung has begun including wireless charging chips in its newest devices and also partners with the WPC. Other WPC members include LG, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Motorola and others.
Increased charging speed is the second of Qi's major announcements this year. The WPC announced that Qi wireless charging would be available in IKEA furniture, including charging tables and portable mats, which are now available online.
The WPC's Qi standard stands against the wireless charge standard backed by the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) and Power Matters Alliance (PMA). A4MP and PMA recently announced plans to merge into a single standard, with details expected later this year.
Wireless charging is already seeing a rise in recognition, according to a report by IHS Technology. The organization found that 76 percent of consumers in the U.S., U.K. and China are now aware of wireless charging, up from 36 percent in 2014. While only about 20 percent of consumers are currently using wireless charging, IHS estimated that more than 120 million wireless power receivers for mobile phones will ship in 2015.
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