Travelers between the U.S. and Europe have one less barrier to deal with when it comes to wireless charging a mobile phone or tablet. Powermat, a joint venture with Duracell, and Helsinki-based PowerKiss reconciled their differences and became one on Tuesday. The two wireless charging companies previously used incompatible technologies, but are both committed to the PMA standard and will be combined under the Powermat Technologies name.
Between the two, they have more than 2,500 wireless charging installations at public locations such as airports, coffee shops, malls and arenas. PowerKiss recently added some charging mats at select McDonalds Europe locations. The idea behind these installs is to allow customers to place their mobile device on a wireless charging pad and add juice to the battery. Of course, the device has to natively support wireless charging, such as Nokia’s Lumia 920, or be compatible with an add-on product such as a wireless charging cover.
Overall, the ability to recharge a device by placing it on a special mat really hasn’t taken off with the mainstream public. Part of the reason is a battle over the technology standards: If you have a device that supports wireless charging but doesn’t work with a compatible charging mat, you’ll have to plug in your device, of course.
Powermat Technologies is part of the PMA, or Power Matters Alliance, which boasts that 80 percent of its partner members represent the entire wireless install base. That sounds good, so what’s the issue?
Well, there’s another body, the Wireless Power Consortium, that’s been at this longer than the PMA by about four years and uses the Qi-branded standard. Even worse: Some partners are members of both groups. So while the PMA gained a new member through marriage, there are still plenty of fish in the sea using a different wireless standard.