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Duracell's Powermat Ties the Knot With PowerKiss 61

Posted by samzenpus
from the power-up dept.
Lucas123 writes "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 come together under one. 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. 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."
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Duracell's Powermat Ties the Knot With PowerKiss

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  • by lxs (131946) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @02:05PM (#43828137)

    Either I have been living under a rock or this article is from the future.
    I have as of today encountered no products using Qi, Powerkiss or Powermat technology. A quick search gives me the impression that wireless charging products are still a rarity. Let's hope that for once a single standard will emerge quickly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mwissel (869864)

      I would have agreed with you if I hadn't recently get a hold of my new Galaxy S4. Although it not labelled as Qi anywhere, the wireless charging mat adheres to this standard. Same goes for the other newer Samsung devices. Given the number of sold units by the company, you might well say Qi is widely adopted.

    • by Nerdfest (867930)

      A Nexus 4 perhaps? They're pretty common. Personally, I don't care which standard is used as long as it's an open standard. Proprietary standards where you need to pay licensing are what tends to cause this sort of thing to happen in the first place.

      • by NFN_NLN (633283)

        A Nexus 4 perhaps? They're pretty common. Personally, I don't care which standard is used as long as it's an open standard. Proprietary standards where you need to pay licensing are what tends to cause this sort of thing to happen in the first place.

        On the other hand an open standard with no regulation tends to breed low quality knock-offs that cheapen the image. There needs to be a happy median.

        I own a Nexus 4 with Qi. But I wonder how fundamentally different these wireless chargers really are. How easy is it to retrofit a Qi to a Duracell and vice versa? Are the coils the same and it's just the frequency? Once a winner is declared it would be wasteful to turf all those systems...

        • by Anonymous Coward

          On the other hand an open standard with no regulation tends to breed low quality knock-offs that cheapen the image.

          Ever heard of USB?

        • open standard does not imply "no regulation".

          open as in the specifications are posted, and free to use, but you can still demand rigorious testing before you let people stick the label on boxes.

          USB does this. There is a USB foundation, and your device needs to be certified before it can be called "USB", and for what speed and substandard compliiance.

          This is very fair.
        • by EdZ (755139)

          On the other hand an open standard with no regulation tends to breed low quality knock-offs that cheapen the image.

          For this to happen, one of two things must be true:
          1) The devices do not conform to the standard
          2) The standard is not sufficiently well defined (e.g. specified tolerances are too loose)

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        An open standard does not mean it is a no cost standard. Just because RMS. has. Mad you a freetard doesn't mean you get to redefine the language.

    • by gagol (583737)
      And that is why nobody cares about this news... moving on.
    • by mrbester (200927)

      There were Powermat mats and adapters going stupid cheap on amazon.co.uk recently (so I grabbed two sets of foldable ones, but I've never heard of Powerkiss...

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      Hell I work in computer retail and have encountered it exactly ONCE, and it was a gaming mouse that charged off the pad. This to me sounds like how they argued over DVD-A and SACD and in the end nobody gave a rat's ass about either tech so they both went exactly nowhere.

      If anything from what I'm seeing everything powered by USB is the wave of the future, damned near every laptop brags about how you can charge phones off their USB, you see USB disposable "quick charge" power packs at every checkout here, i

      • by cbope (130292)

        USB charging sucks, although it is ubiquitous. The vast majority of USB ports in use are USB 2.0 or older 1.1, both of which have limited current capacity (500mA). This is inefficient for charging, it's simply not enough juice to quickly charge anything with a decent sized battery. Sure, there is USB 3.0 which has a higher current capacity, but USB 3.0 ports are not nearly as widely available.

        Wireless charging on the other hand is a great idea. In fact, I see wireless charging being built into desks and oth

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Networking went wireless because wires suck.

        It's a safe bet that once we get the technology down, power will go wireless, too. Because wires still suck.

        USB still has wires, it's not the future, it's the present. Pretty much all phones have had a standard connector since, oh, 2010? The EU has a law about it now, right?

  • by Neil_Brown (1568845) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @02:06PM (#43828139) Homepage

    What bright spark came up with the idea of this merger?

    Perhaps we could have one charging company merge with another time after time after time, thereby doing it in series.

    • What a recharging idea. Companies working together to build a single standard as opposed to fighting each other over basic designs.

    • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @02:12PM (#43828167)

      No, they should merge all at the same time, in parallel. That way we don't ramp up the voltage.

      • Ohmy, I'm having a hard time staying current with all these technologies. Maybe I'm getting old and resist change too much?

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Seems idiotic not to adopt Qi anyway. Lots of devices already support it or can be made to with inexpensive accessories. To Qi enable a Galaxy S3, for example, you just change the back plate and it doesn't even add a bulge because the circuits are already built into the phone (you just need the antenna). To enable it for either of these two systems you need a USB dongle which makes them entirely pointless.

      I'm amazed Duracell is still in business. Their batteries are expensive and not particularly good. Nobo

      • by adolf (21054)

        re: Duracell quality.

        In the pro audio spectrum, new Duracell alkalines are used for wireless accessories. At the end of every show, they're disposed of (or most likely hoarded for other purposes). At the next show, new Duracell alkalines are used again.

        Why not use rechargeable batteries? They wear out, inconsistently. It's difficult to tell (without a lot of human-time) what the status is, and the voltage when fresh is never as high .

        Why alkaline and not heavy-duty or lithium? Because they're consist

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          In the pro audio spectrum, new Duracell alkalines are used for wireless accessories. At the end of every show, they're disposed of (or most likely hoarded for other purposes). At the next show, new Duracell alkalines are used again.

          This is common in other fields as well where there's often a safety-critical element - there will be primary cell backups, and it will be stocked with brand new batteries every few months. Even if all it's done is been removed from the package and stuffed into cell holders and sa

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          It's interesting that you should mention consistency because that is exactly the problem we had with Duracell alkalines. They were fine until they came to the end of their working lives. Our product needs to signal that the battery is about to die and needs to be replaced, but about 50% of the cells would be unable to get this last message out over 868MHz wireless. The choice was either to send the message earlier and thus reduce battery life or send it later and risk not having it sent at all.

          Their lithium

          • by adolf (21054)

            That's all fine and good, and I appreciate the input, but:

            Real Duracell batteries are ridiculously easy to get. Non-fake Japanese cells are not.

            And I cannot account for what seems to be a design fault in your gear: If the "about to die" signal fails, that's more a problem with the circuitry and/or logic surrounding that event than of the particular battery that is installed....no matter what particular battery is installed. (Draw yourself a flowchart.)

            My mileage doesn't matter. The entire pro-sound indu

            • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

              The problem with the end-of-life signal is that some batteries die gracefully and can provide enough current to send the message, while others do not and the voltage drops dramatically as the 30mA required to transmit kicks in. The voltage is then below the minimum level for the transceiver and the message fails.

              As I said, about 50% of Duracell batteries are okay, and 50% are not. 100% of SAFT batteries are fine. We also tested Sanyo and Panasonic, bother of which were fine but more expensive than the SAFT

              • by adolf (21054)

                The problem with the end-of-life signal is that you have a device that accepts random off-the-shelf batteries, but cannot reliably detect when they're near the end of their life.

                I strongly suspect that it could be improved. I'm guessing that it measures open-circuit voltage, or close to it, which is the wrong way to measure a primary battery since the internal impedance can be quite high: Open-circuit voltage is a lie for all practical purposes. These things need tested under load.

                So how to test it under

                • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

                  The problem with the end-of-life signal is that you have a device that accepts random off-the-shelf batteries

                  No, it accepts brand new SAFT cells that we buy in and fit ourselves. They are never more than 2 months old. We can reliably detect when they are near the their end of life because the voltage starts to drop (adjusted for temperature and under a known load). At that point we always have enough energy left to send a several end-of-life messages over a few days.

                  The problem we had with the Duracell batteries was that when they reach this stage some of them can't supply the energy needed for these messages. SAF

          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            It's interesting that you should mention consistency because that is exactly the problem we had with Duracell alkalines. They were fine until they came to the end of their working lives. Our product needs to signal that the battery is about to die and needs to be replaced, but about 50% of the cells would be unable to get this last message out over 868MHz wireless. The choice was either to send the message earlier and thus reduce battery life or send it later and risk not having it sent at all.

            Different use

            • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

              We do send regular battery voltage measurements but we use a lot of lithium cells that remain at a fixed voltage until the very end of their life. Alkaline have a nice curve but even so you really need to know when you are over the "knee" and really dying rather than just having temporary comms trouble because a vehicle parked between your base station and data logger.

              But yes, different applications. We go five years on a couple of AA cells.

  • > Qi (pronounced "chee")

    I watch Dragon Ball Z. Shouldn't it be pronounced "Kai"?

    • by xaxa (988988)

      It's Mandarin for life force or energy.

      The older way to write the word using Latin letters gave "chi" (and "Peking"), the newer way "qi" (and "Beijing"). It's pronounced like the "chee" in "cheese".

    • by Molochi (555357)

      I think it's the Qinese pronounciation.

    • Re:Or zed (Score:4, Informative)

      by gl4ss (559668) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @06:02PM (#43829039) Homepage Journal

      > Qi (pronounced "chee")

      I watch Dragon Ball Z. Shouldn't it be pronounced "Kai"?

      I'm Finnish.
      I'm wondering how the fuck one is supposed to pronounce "chee". Is it like cheetah/cheater? chjii? khii? khaaaaaan!?? khee? is the sshsh there or not?

      For the record, it would all be so much simpler if everyone just started speaking Finnish. Once you see a word in 99.9% of cases you know exactly how to pronounce it. This is the reason for rally english spoken by Finnish rally drivers, they just pronounce the words like they're written. Very simple, very effective and generally you don't need writing the word two times, first as it is written and then next to it with phonetic symbols - that's fucking stupid if you think about it, why not just write it with the phonetic symbols in the first place.

      And Beijing is Peking, darn it. Never mind what the Chinese have to say about that, they don't know dick about a sensible writing system anyhow (their writing system was never intended for pesky peasants anyhow, just for the one percenters).

      • For the record, it would all be so much simpler if everyone just started speaking Finnish.

        Just as long as they didn't *write* it, else there'd be a world shortage of those double-dot umlaut things. :-/

      • by alantus (882150)

        For the record, it would all be so much simpler if everyone just started speaking Finnish. Once you see a word in 99.9% of cases you know exactly how to pronounce it.

        In Spanish you also don't have to guess the pronunciations, plus its easier than Finnish.

        But let's get real, no country will ever change their official language just because there is a better one out there. People never think their native language is awkward, because they grew up with it. Ask any chinese and they will tell you that mandarin is the easiest in the world.
        At some point in history Esperanto was seen as a possible universal language for all countries to adopt, unfortunately the plan failed.

        Hell

  • Look, there's no reason to get all amped up over this merger. Qi is clearly leading the charge in the market, so in order to offer any resistance, Duracell had to do this. The field is very dynamic and variant right now, so let's just hope that once it settles down to one dominant technology, it doesn't go all stagnant and stop working altogether.

    • Yep, unless Apple puts Powermat technology in their phones, it'll never take off. LG, Samsung, Motorola, HTC, Sony, Nokia and Huawei all use Qi.
      Are any phones compatible with powermat out of the box? None of their "partners" on their website manufacture anything battery powered.

      • by lxs (131946)

        Knowing Apple they'd invent their own standard, call it Skypuppy and claim that Qi is not advanced enough to power their magical appliances.

  • I recall that PowerKiss is Qi compatible. It says so right on the store page. [powerkiss.com]

    PowerKiss Rings are a clean and easy way to charge your phone wirelessly. Chose the perfect match for your device from two different types of Rings (micro USB and iRing). Available in Jealous Black or Innocent White. With the new Qi compatible Rings you can simply plug it into your device and charge it on:

    PowerKiss Heart2
    any Qi compatible pad or station!

  • Standards [xkcd.com]!

    I'm surprised that no-one appears to have got there before me. Unless someone is using particularly obscure spelling for "obligatory". Or for "XKCD".

  • So should I expect that a technology is going to become ubiquitous that might play hobb with people's pacemakers???

    Should I be expecting to see Grandmas all over the country breaking out into unplanned gymnastics at airports, malls and coffee shops? I can see it now, Lady ordering at a Starbucks... "I'll have whatever she's having!"

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen

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