IFA 2023 last week saw a bunch of new announcements, including the arrival of the Qi2 standard in actual products. The new wireless charging standard and its MagSafe support are genuinely exciting, but the biggest question about Qi2 so far is where all of the phones are.
What is Qi2?
To quickly go over what Qi2 is, it’s the first major update to the reigning wireless charging standard in the better part of a decade. Qi2 is designed not for faster speeds but for better use. Using the foundation of Apple’s MagSafe, Qi2 allows any company to use the power of magnets to improve wireless charging both through alignment and efficiency.
The Wireless Power Consortium in charge of the standard explains:
The Qi2 (pronounced ‘chee two’) standard will replace its predecessor, Qi, in a rapidly expanding market where about one billion devices – transmitters and receivers – will be sold worldwide in 2023. Qi will provide consumers with more energy efficient and faster charging of their smartphones and other portable electronic devices. The standard will also further expand the wireless charging market by opening the market to new accessories that wouldn’t be chargeable using current flat surface-to-flat surface devices.
Qi wireless charging works best when the transmitter (the charger) and the receiver (the phone or accessory) are perfectly aligned. Traditionally, that’s been virtually impossible and has usually led to charging pads that have multiple coils to offer easier alignment. That’s a problem that Apple largely solved with MagSafe, though, by using a ring of magnets to perfectly align the charger and the coil.
That same benefit is at the core of Qi2, as the WPC also stresses that it “improves energy efficiency by reducing the energy loss that can happen when the phone and the charger are not aligned.”
Beyond just improving alignment, standardizing that magnetic connection also means that the world of MagSafe accessories that have arrived over the past few years will work with more products beyond just Apple’s ecosystem.
Qi2 accessories are incoming, but we haven’t heard anything about phones
It was at CES 2023 that Qi2 hit the scene, but IFA 2023 was effectively its real introduction. At the Berlin-based event, we saw the announcements of the first Qi2-certified products from Anker, Belkin, and Mophie.
Anker’s Qi2 lineup, as detailed by 9to5Toys, includes the “MagGo” series, featuring power banks, wireless chargers, and charging stations, all at 15 watts – the max speed that iPhones will support wirelessly.
Meanwhile, Belkin announced three charging pads, including a 3-in-1 station for two devices and an Apple Watch, as well as a convertible pad/stand.
Finally, Mophie, as 9to5Mac details, announced Qi2-verified charging stands and car mounts that take full advantage of the magnets.
All of these launches are great news for iPhone fans, as Apple’s iPhone 15 is expected to support 15-watt charging speeds with Qi2 accessories. Most of these accessories are expected to arrive after the iPhone 15’s launch, starting this fall and arriving through the beginning of 2024.
But… what about Android?
Qi2 is an industry standard and, as such, is available to Android manufacturers. But, thus far, we’ve not heard anything about any Qi2-equipped Android phones. There was a brief mention of Qi2 with the launch of Asus Zenfone 10, but that was only referring to the fact that smartphones with existing Qi will be able to function with Qi2 – they just lack the magnets.
On its website, the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) says we can expect Qi2 phones to arrive sometime in Q4 2023.
The specifications for Qi2 are expected to be completed mid-year 2023. Qi2 Certified phones and chargers should be available approximately 4th quarter 2023.
But, in terms of major releases left in 2023, there’s really not going to be much of an opportunity. The Google Pixel 8 series is the last major Android launch of the year, and we already know that the series isn’t poised to support Qi2. The OnePlus Open foldable also seems unlikely to support it.
The most likely scenario for the first Android phone with Qi2 support is that it will be a phone from China, such as a future Xiaomi release or maybe the OnePlus 12. For customers in the US, though, the most logical guess is the Galaxy S24 series, which would be set to launch in January or February.
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