Broadcom's Multi-Standard Wireless Charging Chip Could Spur Mainstream Adoption

For years now, "wireless charging" has close to taking off. There have been major efforts to make it a household item, even reaching back to the original Palm Pre and its Touchstone charger. Lately, a few Nokia Lumia devices have supported wireless charging via accessory backs, and some of the larger players have converged into alliances in order to send a stronger, unified message. But all in all, wireless charging still hasn't taken off in a major way. It's still far slower than a cable, and it usually requires too many costly accessories for the layperson to truly consider.

Broadcom's hoping to change that with the introduction of a new multi-standard wireless charging SoC for smartphones. What's unique about this silicon is that it is compatible out of the box with A4WP, PMA, and WPC charging standards. In other words, it's the first chip that doesn't make you (nor an OEM building a phone) choose. The BCM59350 wireless charging PMU allows "automatic selection between specifications from all three leading standards organizations including the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) for OEM flexibility.  A4WP uses resonant technology, called Rezence, that allows consumers to "drop and go," placing multiple devices on a single charging surface without the trouble of accurate positioning or alignment."

Best of all, the chip is available to order starting this week, and it promises up to 88 percent AC-to-DC efficiency. It can coexist with NFC, and while pricing isn't mention, Broadcom's hoping that the low-cost nature of the product will spur massive uptake. Furthermore, it's sampling with "select customers" now, which brings into question the all-important fall lineup of phones. Will the next Galaxy and iPhone support wireless charging? If so, they just might look to this chip to make it happen.