Here’s why Qualcomm just joined the PMA: Hope for a single wireless charging standard

Qualcomm(s qcom) joined the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) on Tuesday, which the PMA is touting as a big win. And it is, considering that Qualcomm is one of the top chip-makers used in mobile devices. Interestingly though, this is the third wireless power group Qualcomm has joined of late. In fact, it’s now a member of¬†all three of the top groups, each of which has its own idea of the best wireless charging standard: the PMA, the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) and the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP).

So what gives? Why would Qualcomm decide to back all three horses in this race? It’s not just to cash in on a Win, Place or Show ticket; I figure Qualcomm is looking for something that’s sorely needed in the wireless charging industry: A single standard.

I reached out to Qualcomm and received this statement, which verifies my initial thought:

“Qualcomm, a founding member of the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), has joined the WPC and PMA. Qualcomm remains a board member and driver of the A4WP. Qualcomm remains committed to the industries transition to a resonant based wireless power technology. By joining these organizations, Qualcomm aims to provide an opportunity to standardize around a single global implementation if all parties can agree on the way forward. The Company believes that A4WP represents the most mature and best implementation of resonant charging. We are bringing this time to market advantage to the PMA and WPC for their consideration.”

Qualcomm obviously thinks its own solution — that of the A4WP — is better than the Qi standard and other implementations, However, instead of trying to push it alone, it figures it can bring the technology to the other groups.

A bit heavy-handed? Perhaps, but at this rate, individual groups don’t seem to be working together for the consumer’s benefit; instead, the approaches have all been to disparage technology from rival groups.

Although I use a Qi wireless charger today, it does have limitations that Qualcomm’s solution avoid. I can only charge one device per “spot” on a pad and my device must be placed directly on that spot. The A4WP has already demonstrated more spatial freedom and multiple device charging on a single pad. Here’s a quick look at the technology: