A new chip from Broadcom will hopefully solve the wireless charging wars

Companies place bets on horses they think will win. But sometimes, as in the disparate wireless charging standards in the market today, a single winner is unlikely to be declared. While most devices with wireless charging sold in Canada use the Qi standard, propagated by Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), there’s another equally forceful group, Power Matters Alliance (PMA) making a play for customers. As a result, customers won’t realize the charging block they purchased six months ago may not be compatible with the phone they are going to purchase six months from now.

But Broadcom, maker of all types of chips and sensors that run in your phone today, aims to solve the problem by developing a single chip that brings pin-compatibility to all wireless charging standards. The BCM59350 chip works with PMA, Qi or the more-unknown Rezence, and can push up to 7.5W of power if the charger supports it, minimizing one of the technology’s biggest issues, charging speed.

While it’s ultimately up to manufacturers to implement, many companies, such as Samsung and LG, are aligned with one or another consortium. It may still be in their best interests, both financially and otherwise, to remain loyal to one over the other. In the meantime, companies like LG are announcing devices like the G3 with Qi-compatible wireless charging, which continues, at least for Canadians, to be the dominant standard.

Broadcom is currently shopping the chip to potential OEMs, so expect the first devices with its implementation within the year.