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Wireless Power Poised for Takeoff Despite Standards Fight

More than a century after Nikola Tesla showed the world that he could light up a phosphorescent lamp without using any wires, even the most cutting-edge consumer electronics products remain tethered to their power cords.

Wireless cellphone charging pads from companies like Samsung and Duracell have been around for a few years, but those products don’t offer much more flexibility than a wire. Now, though, a second generation of wireless charging technologies—the culmination of years of academic research out of places like MIT, Duke and the University of Auckland—is poised to hit the market.

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Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly reported that four companies have received licenses from Qualcomm for “Renzence” chargers. In fact four companies have been certified by the A4WP to build the charges. Qualcomm declined to comment on licensing arrangements.

Matt MacInnis and Andrew Kortina commented on this article.
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Different standards for wireless charging have emerged around similar technologies as companies with their own intellectual property claims jockey to have their approach adopted.