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It might finally be time to use wireless charging: Qi adopts fast charging capabilities

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge induction dock
Giuliano Correia/Digital Trends
The adoption rate for wireless charging continues to struggle, but that could change very soon. The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) announced a specification update to the Qi standard that will deliver 15 watts of power to mobile phones that support fast charging.

One of the limitations of wireless chargers is that it takes too long to charge devices. Wireless chargers are perfect for overnight charges, but when you need some juice during the work day, nothing compares to wired quick charging. For example, the Galaxy S6, which has quick charging capabilities, can be charged from 0 to 50 percent in 30 minutes, or to 100 percent in 90 minutes with a wired connection. Wireless charging takes about 3 hours to go from 0 to 100 percent.

The convenience of being able to just place your phone on the charger without connecting a wire isn’t enough to justify a wireless charger at this point. However, the new standard aims to change all that. The new Qi standard wireless charging will juice up phones that support fast charging much more quickly. Although no exact numbers were given, the WPC stated that, “the latest Qi specification empowers [these devices] to extend this speed to wireless charging as well.”

Current popular phones that support quick charging include the Samsung Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, HTC One M9, and the LG G4, but it doesn’t appear that these existing phones with quick charging capability will charge at the new standard’s speeds when the technology is released. Manufacturers will need to adopt the new specifications that were just announced into future phones. The good news is that all current Qi-enabled chargers will be backwards compatible, so you won’t need to buy a new one to wirelessly quick charge your phone with the new standard’s tech.

“This release marks an important milestone for Qi, introducing the first higher power class and paving the way for our members to address more demanding applications with products that work seamlessly with the installed base of Qi-compatible products,” said Menno Treffers, chairman of the WPC.

Qi is one of the two main standards for wireless charging. Power Matters Alliance (PMA), the other standard, is not as popular at the consumer level, but has been widely adopted by Starbucks and McDonald’s. The battle between the two main standards also has been a hindrance to the adoption rate of wireless charging, but Samsung simplified things by including both standards on the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Apple has yet to adopt wireless charging on the iPhone.

The WPC didn’t specify when the first devices with the extra fast wireless charging tech would hit the market, but we’re hopeful for 2016.

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