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Qualcomm Is About to Make Wireless Charging a Lot Less Confusing

BARCELONA — Charging your smartphone has gotten speedier and speedier every year, though most of these time-saving innovations have escaped the realm of wireless charging.

The Google Pixel 3, which supports 10W charging. (Credit: Tom's Guide)

(Image credit: The Google Pixel 3, which supports 10W charging. (Credit: Tom's Guide))

Fortunately that’s finally changing, thanks in part to companies like Xiaomi and Samsung who have embraced 25W wireless charging in devices like the upcoming Mi 9 and Galaxy S10 5G. But that doesn’t help the fact that things are still more than a little confusing for users, who have to wrestle with a mess of competing standards and power outputs to find the right wireless pad, cables and adapter for their device.

It’s for that reason that Qualcomm has decided to step in and help. The company responsible for Quick Charge cooperated with the Wireless Power Consortium to iron out a certification process for Quick Charge and Qi-supported pads. That means next time you buy a wireless charging dock or stand that is built to handle Quick Charge speeds, you’ll know which one you should buy with the help of a little logo on the box.

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But Qualcomm’s initiative goes further than branding. It’s also not a ploy to get buyers to shell out more money for new wireless chargers. In fact, any wireless surface certified for Quick Charge must also be compatible with Qi, as well as every previous iteration of Quick Charge adapters — from spec 2.0 onward. The idea is that people will be able to continue to use the gear they already have, without a doubt that their new wireless pad will play nice with the rest of their equipment, and top up their phone in a safe but efficient way.

Xiaomi Mi 9 (Credit: Xiaomi)

(Image credit: Xiaomi Mi 9 (Credit: Xiaomi))

Qualcomm is also working with its partners to ensure that devices are compliant from a thermal standpoint, as the main enemy of effective inductive charging is heat. Xiaomi’s Mi Wireless Charging Pad, launched in conjunction with its new Mi 9 budget flagship phone, is notably the first product Qualcomm has certified for wireless Quick Charging.

The steps Qualcomm has taken are overdue but important to ensure a baseline quality user experience, and help consumers make sense of the myriad of charging protocols out there. In a way, it's similar to the crisis USB Type-C went through when it was launched, when low-quality, cheap accessories flooded online retailers. You can expect to see more Quick Charge-approved wireless chargers hit the market in the coming months.