CES: Qualcomm inks wireless power pact with Powermat

The mobile phone chip company has agreed to jointly develop wireless charging technology with specialist Powermat--and to try to build an industry alliance around the technology.

A Powermat wireless charging setup that bundles a receiver wrapped around an iPhone with a pad for charging it wirelessly.
A Powermat wireless charging setup that bundles a receiver wrapped around an iPhone with a pad for charging it wirelessly. Powermat

Mobile phone chipmaker Qualcomm has inked a partnership to explore wireless charging technology with Powermat, a specialist in the area.

Wireless charging holds the promise of ridding people of a lot of wires but poses risks that different devices will use incompatible charging methods, so it's no surprise that part of the partnership involves building an industry alliance around the technology.

Qualcomm's current wireless approach, called WiPower and using a method called near-field magnetic resonance technology, is on display at CES this week.

In their deal, the companies agreed to a broad partnership designed to explore the technology and adapt it to Qualcomm products. Specifically, the companies plan to:

...investigate the convergence of tightly and loosely coupled wireless power technologies to deliver a flexible coupling wireless power solution; work together to build an industry alliance that supports flexible coupling-based wireless power; investigate the development of dual-mode receiver ASICs [processors called application-specific integrated circuits] that work with Qualcomm's Wipower technology and that are backward compatible to Powermat's charging mats; and have Powermat offer a single-mode wireless power solution based on Qualcomm's WiPower technology that will supplement the current Powermat product line.

"We are extremely excited with the prospect of working closely with one of the industry's premier wireless power companies to bring innovative wireless power solutions to market," said Steve Mollenkopf, a Qualcomm executive vice president, in a statement.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.


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