May 23, 2013, 6:08 AM — Powermat Technologies has announced an agreement to merge with its European counterpart, PowerKiss, in a deal that will make what once was two disparate wireless power specifications coming together under the one.
The two companies will come under the Powermat Technologies name, and both are Power Matters Alliance (PMA), which developed the Power 2.0 specification. PowerKiss joined the PMA in March.
The PMA's Power 2.0 standard has the backing of AT&T, Procter & Gamble, and Starbucks.
A Samsung Galaxy S III phone charging at a Boston Starbucks (source: Duracell Powermat)
Among airports, coffee shops, malls and arenas, Powermat, owned by Duracell, claims it has more than 1,500 charging spots in the U.S. In Europe, PowerKiss said it has 1,000 charging spots in airports, hotels and cafes; it also recently announced wireless charging at some McDonald's restaurants.
The companies see the merger as an opportunity to create a consistent wireless charging experience for mobile users.
"Uniting forces behind a common standard ensures that consumers will be able to avail themselves of the widest possible ecosystem of public places where they can recharge," Ran Poliakine, CEO of Powermat, said in a statement. "Very soon consumers will be able to access wireless power seamlessly as they move between home, office, coffee shop, car and airport."
Powermat and PowerKiss are attempting to prevail against the competing Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), which supports the widely adopted Qi (pronounced "chee") standard used in Nokia, Samsung, and LG products. Like the Qi standard, the PMA's Power 2.0 specification is based on magnetic induction wireless power technology.
To date, most wireless charging products in the market have been built around magnetic induction charging techniques, which require that the device be in contact with a charging surface, such as a charging pad. The device must remain in a relatively small area before the magnetic power connection is broken. In contrast, magnetic resonant charging allows mobile devices to be in close proximity, but not directly touching a charging base and still be powered.
While resonant charging is based on the same transmitter/receiver coil technology as magnetic induction, it transmits power at a greater distance. Other companies, such as WiTricity and Power By Proxi, offer devices based on other specifications that can charge from feet away or can be charged simultaneously by dropping them into a box.
WiTricity also recently announced it has joined the PMA group. PMA recently formed a technical working group to add a magnetic resonant implementation to the "Power 2.0" group of specifications.