Did the future of wireless charging get decided by a coffee cup?


In 2001, Wi-Fi wasn't a sure thing. Two different standards, HomeRF and Wi-Fi, were competing to be the dominant wireless networking technology. But though HomeRF had a host of supporters and its proponents argued that the technology wasn't as susceptible to interference, today mentioning the name would probably buy you a blank stare. One reason for that is the Apple iBook, the first of many laptops to integrate Wi-Fi. The other is Starbucks, which rolled out Wi-Fi on a vast scale to serve those laptops starting in 2002. "Standards are ultimately set in a coffee shop, not in a conference room," says Daniel Schreiber, president of Powermat. He's telling The Verge about HomeRF because he believes that history is about to repeat itself. Schreiber is on the board of the Power Matters Alliance (PMA), a standards group for wireless charging — the ability to power everything from a smartphone to an automobile without a plug — and he believes his group will prevail against the competing Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) thanks to the help of that very same Starbucks.
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Did the future of wireless charging get decided by a coffee cup?


In 2001, Wi-Fi wasn't a sure thing. Two different standards, HomeRF and Wi-Fi, were competing to be the dominant wireless networking technology. But though HomeRF had a host of supporters and its proponents argued that the technology wasn't as susceptible to interference, today mentioning the name would probably buy you a blank stare. One reason for that is the Apple iBook, the first of many laptops to integrate Wi-Fi. The other is Starbucks, which rolled out Wi-Fi on a vast scale to serve those laptops starting in 2002. "Standards are ultimately set in a coffee shop, not in a conference room," says Daniel Schreiber, president of Powermat. He's telling The Verge about HomeRF because he believes that history is about to repeat itself. Schreiber is on the board of the Power Matters Alliance (PMA), a standards group for wireless charging — the ability to power everything from a smartphone to an automobile without a plug — and he believes his group will prevail against the competing Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) thanks to the help of that very same Starbucks.
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