Samsung, HTC and others plump for PMA wireless charging

Samsung, HTC and LG have joined the Power Matters Alliance, a grandly titled group devoted to charging your phone without plugging it in.

Nick Hide Managing copy editor
Nick manages CNET's advice copy desk from Springfield, Virginia. He's worked at CNET since 2005.
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It's a format war no one was paying any attention to, but the struggle to control and define wireless charging has burst dramatically to life. Today Samsung, HTC and LG joined the Power Matters Alliance, a grandly titled group of superheroes gadget makers devoted to charging up your phone without you having to plug it in.

To be honest, I thought Qi had become the accepted wireless charging standard. The Nexus 4 uses Qi, and so do Nokia's Lumia phones, along with other assorted oddments like this Pentax waterproof camera. That another standard has emerged is deeply irritating, because now we all have to wait until one of them wins.

Just as the Blu-ray vs HD DVD squabble meant you didn't want to invest in a new hi-def movie player until you were sure you'd be able to buy discs for it years later, we don't yet know which kind of wireless charging you should pick.

The PMA was founded by Powermat, the biggest standalone wireless charging gadget, and Duracell. Up until now, its biggest supporters had been Starbucks and AT&T, the US phone network.

The Marvel to the PMA's DC Comics, Qi is promoted by the Wireless Power Consortium, which was set up by companies such as Philips, Logitech and Sanyo.

AT&T was a big coup for the PMA because it directly influences phone makers -- that's what today's announcement is about. It's asked Samsung, HTC and others to build Powermat-compatible charging into the phones it will sell next year.

Those phones might not make it to the UK, but if other companies like car makers and coffee shops build Powermats into their products and venues, it might lead to it becoming a global standard.

The PMA was at Mobile World Congress in force, where we realised Wireless-Charging sounds like a double-barrelled surname. Once that occurs to you, only madness ensues. (Thanks Jaffo!)

Samsung and others seem content to play both sides for now, with the Galaxy S4 set to come with different wireless-charging cases depending on which standard you want to use.

Do you use wireless charging already? Which standard do you think will catch on? Are you excited about the further adventures of the fearless Charles Wireless-Charging? (Don't answer that last one.) Tell me in the comments, or on our 100 per cent charged Facebook page.