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Dell Joins Wireless Power Standards Group

The vendor's membership in the A4WP coincides with the group's initiative to expand its efforts to devices larger than smartphones.

Dell is joining the Alliance for Wireless Power, one of three vendor organizations that are developing and promoting standards for wirelessly charging electronic devices.

The Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) is developing a standard called Rezence that uses near-field magnetic resonance technology that proponents said will enable the simultaneous charging of multiple devices, without those devices having to be docked.

Dell joins a group that includes more than 80 companies, ranging from Broadcom and Intel to Qualcomm, Samsung, HTC and Fujitsu. Dell becomes the first major PC OEM to join such a group, according to A4WP officials. Wireless charging is a key capability in a world that is increasingly mobile and increasingly connected, according to Glen Robson, vice president and CTO at Dell.

"The development of magnetic resonance technology will improve the customer experience when it comes to wireless charging and bring the capability into more homes and businesses over the next few years," Robson said in a statement.

Dell's arrival to the A4WP Feb. 20 comes less than two weeks after the group and the Powers Matter Alliance (PMA)—another wireless charging consortium—announced an agreement to work together to enable interoperability between their respective standards. According to the agreement, the PMA will adopt Rezence as its magnetic resonance charging spec for transmitters and receivers in both single- and multi-mode configurations. Meanwhile, A4WP will support PMA's inductive spec as an option for multi-mode inductive, magnetic resonance implementations, and the two groups will collaborate on network services management APIs.

In addition, the same day that Dell announced its membership, the A4WP group unveiled another initiative that is aimed at wirelessly charging products that range from 20 to 50 watts, such as laptops, Ultrabooks and mid-powered appliances. Group officials said Dell's membership signals the need to find ways to wirelessly power devices that are larger and consume more power than smartphones.

"Extending the Rezence specification to include higher-power, more capable devices like Ultrabooks and 2-in-1s is a necessary evolution that will help to accelerate charging station installations and bring a truly enjoyable 'no wires' user experience to more users," Sanjay Vora, general manager for strategic planning at Intel's PC Client Group, said in a statement.

Both the A4WP and PMA were formed in 2012, four years after the launching of the Wireless Power Consortium. That group, which has more than 180 members, has created the Qi standard that is in use in more than 400 products, according to consortium officials. Qi-enabled smartphones currently are available from the likes of Samsung, Nokia and Sharp, and Qi charging stations can be found worldwide in such places as offices, hotels, airports and coffee shops, they said.