Chances are that in the not so distant future you will begin seeing your favorite electronic devices sporting the new Qi (pronounced “chee”) logo. So what exactly is Qi you are probably asking yourself and why exactly should I care about Qi enabled devices? Below are a few Q&A’s that will help you to better understand what Qi is and why you should want it.
1) What is Qi?
Qi is the name given to the new international standard for Interoperable Wireless Charging created by the Wireless Power Consortium . Sounds fancy but basically means a large group of companies that recognized the need and benefits of having a single standard to promote interoperability got together and documented one.
2) Why is a standard needed?
Imagine if every time you bought a new USB device you had to make sure it didn’t draw too much current, it met the transaction speed requirements, and that the over molded connector fit into the port on your PC. Well you don’t have to because there is a standard that governs that any device carrying the USB 2.0 logo must all operate and interface to the PC exactly the same. The Wireless Power Consortium is attempting to do the same thing for wireless charging.
As with any standard the goal is very simple for the consortium, make a single documented source that all manufactures will adhere to when designing devices with wireless charging capabilities. This will regulate the method in which magnetic induction power transfer occurs between electronic devices and charging stations.
3) What are the benefits of this standard?
As a consumer there are countless benefits to having this standard in place.
• Interoperability between devices and chargers regardless of manufacture.
• No need for having multiple charging cords with proprietary connectors.
• Peace of mind that products marked with the Qi logo have gone through extensive validation and testing to ensure a high quality and reliable product.
• Lower prices for this added feature as all manufacturers will be using the same few brands of approved IC’s in their design.
4) What if any devices can I get right now that are Qi enabled?
As of right now I am not aware of any specific devices that are being sold and are out of the prototype stage with the exception of Energizer which is currently selling a Qi charging mat, Qi door for the Blackberry Curve 8900, and Qi sleeve for the iPhone 4.
5) Will there be more devices coming out soon that will be Qi enabled?
The consortium just released the standard late last year and there were several companies with prototypes and product demonstrations at CES 2011. You can check out the member (regular and associate) list for yourself but with heavy hitters like HTC Corporation, LG Electronics, Samsung, Sony-Ericsson, and Verizon Wireless it is only a matter of time before all your favorite devices become Qi enabled.