Today at Mobile World Congress 2015, MediaTek have announced the first multi-mode wireless charging, application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), the MT3188, is commercially available to customers and being mass produced. Their reference design (including power electronics, the supervisory circuit and resonator) has passed the A4WP, WPC and PMA certifications. In other words, MT3188’s multi-mode wireless charging supports the both the Alliance For Wireless Power (A4WP) and Power Matters Alliance (PMA) standard (which merged a year ago), plus competing standard Qi (developed by the Wireless Power Consortium). The new chip and reference design allows manufacturers to quickly, easily and cheaply integrate wireless charging for devices without necessarily requiring customers to change their current wireless charger.
The current breed of wireless charging works using magnetic induction, which must be regulated and controlled to avoid overcharging. Both the charging station and device contain a coil; the base station generates an oscillating magnetic field and the device contains a power receiver and coil. The magnetic field induces an alternating current in the receiving coil, which is used to recharge the device. For most devices, the physical hardware is compatible with the two main standards but the device needs the appropriate control processor.
SR Tsai, General Manager of MediaTek’s Wireless Connectivity and Networking Business Unit said: “MediaTek again demonstrates market leadership by allowing our customers to be first to market with multi-protocol solutions that remove the confusion over multiple standards. This demonstrates our commitment to broadening the accessibility of quality technology for everyone in the world. The smart receiver resonator architecture not only simplifies design but also delivers a seamless user experience when charging devices across different pads. We recognized the need in the market and have delivered an efficient solution at speed.” The development and mass production of the MT3188 may well increase the adoption of wireless inductive charging across the industry, because battles between the existing groups is the main reason for the hold up: customers do not want to heavily invest in one standard if there are several for fear of buying the “wrong” technology. This is a positive move for wireless charging in general and MediaTek’s solution recognizes the problem and circumvents it by making the device able to be charged from different wireless chargers.