A new chip from Broadcom will hopefully solve the wireless charging wars

Daniel Bader

May 28, 2014 10:12am

Companies place bets on horses they think will win. But sometimes, as in the disparate wireless charging standards in the market today, a single winner is unlikely to be declared. While most devices with wireless charging sold in Canada use the Qi standard, propagated by Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), there’s another equally forceful group, Power Matters Alliance (PMA) making a play for customers. As a result, customers won’t realize the charging block they purchased six months ago may not be compatible with the phone they are going to purchase six months from now.

But Broadcom, maker of all types of chips and sensors that run in your phone today, aims to solve the problem by developing a single chip that brings pin-compatibility to all wireless charging standards. The BCM59350 chip works with PMA, Qi or the more-unknown Rezence, and can push up to 7.5W of power if the charger supports it, minimizing one of the technology’s biggest issues, charging speed.

While it’s ultimately up to manufacturers to implement, many companies, such as Samsung and LG, are aligned with one or another consortium. It may still be in their best interests, both financially and otherwise, to remain loyal to one over the other. In the meantime, companies like LG are announcing devices like the G3 with Qi-compatible wireless charging, which continues, at least for Canadians, to be the dominant standard.

Broadcom is currently shopping the chip to potential OEMs, so expect the first devices with its implementation within the year.

  • Bri Bru

    I never tried using wireless charging devices before but I heard from some people that the performance on the Qi chargers aren’t so great at least for some phones/tablets.
    Anyone have any opinion on this?

    • Karim

      I use a wireless charging case on my Nokia 1020. It was a little awkward at first because I had to align the phone perfectly onto the charging plate in order for it to work. If it’s a little bit off it won’t charge continuously. After figuring out the right position, I must say its much better than wired charging. I just plop it on my bedside table every night and its good to go in the morning. Haven’t used a wired charger in several months!

    • Ballack

      It was awkward for most people who have not accessed or known of wireless charging. But when I got my hands on it and lived with it for a few days, I found it really convienient and easy to use. You do not have to plug your charger, just drop the phone on the plate. I damaged my weireless charging plate days ago, I really missed it.

    • Conception

      I love my HP TouchPad wireless charger. Thing is, it’s not Qi compatible. In fact, I don’t know what kind of standard they used. It could even be proprietary. I can’t find much info on the the wireless tech they used.

  • nekkidtruth

    Although this isn’t really innovation, it’s things like this that make certain companies truly forward-thinking.

  • pauly shore

    wireless charging is convenient, where you just place it and once lights or sound starts
    you can leave it be. no worries about wire plug tugging and messing your charger port. collateral is wirless charging is slower to charge vs direct plugin.

  • ScooterinAB

    *slaps the Palm Pre out of mdram’s hand like he just peed on the carpet.* Out!

    Seriously though. We had wireless charging back then?

    • ScooterinAB

      Just like they were the first touch screen smart phone. He shoots he scores! 😛

      Oh Palm. Like, 15 years before your time.