Report: Qi standard maintains lead in wireless charging space

Two wireless charging standards are competing for market share as the next generation of resonant wireless technologies is nearing readiness, reports ABI Research.

Report: Qi standard maintains lead in wireless charging space
Report: Qi standard maintains lead in wireless charging space

Two wireless charging standards are competing for market share as the next generation of resonant wireless technologies is nearing readiness. ABI Research forecasts that through 2020, 713 million Qi and 213 million Powermat/Rezence chargers will ship, along with a small number of proprietary technologies.

The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), with its Qi standard, leads shipments today, and ABI Research believes it will maintain its lead with both its inductive and next-generation resonant modes. Two other standard bodies recently merged: Power Matters Alliance (PMA), shipping inductive Powermat chargers, merged with the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), which is promoting a next generation resonant standard branded Rezence. Resonant charging increases the allowable distance between chargers and devices, enabling new applications like hiding the charger beneath furniture.

A number of high profile companies currently invested in the space, including Samsung, Qualcomm, Broadcom and Microsoft, are members of both organizations, points out ABI. These companies will help improve consumer awareness, though some lines are already being drawn. Other companies will need to send clear signals about their product support to consumers.

For example, some Samsung devices today support both Powermat and Qi, although ABI Research expects that Samsung will eventually move to only support Qi in future products. WPC’s Qi standard has a big lead both in the direct-to-consumer retail charging pad market, notably in the Samsung Wireless Charging Pad, and in public charging stations, with thousands of locations, compared to Powermat’s hundreds. Public charging stations are viewed as an important driver for expanding consumer awareness and as a way to highlight the convenience of wireless charging.

“Early awareness is being driven by the incorporation of wireless charging capabilities into smartphones, which will account for around 84% of all wireless charging receivers by the end of 2015,” says ABI research analyst Shelli Bernard. “Since many smartphone OEMs to date have not bundled wireless chargers alongside handsets, the number of wireless charging-ready devices have outpaced chargers. As awareness grows and as prices for chargers fall, the number of chargers per active user should grow, helping to work towards closing this divide.”

These findings are part of ABI Research’s Consumer Electronics Enabling Technologies Research Service.

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