AT&T Nokia Lumia 1520 will not have Qi because AT&T supports rival PMA

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As regular readers will know, the AT&T Nokia Lumia 1520 will not have Qi wireless charging built in, despite the international version sporting the technology.

Surprisingly a reader was able to get a reasoned and coherent response from AT&T for this specification change.

Don Mooers, Director, Device Product Marketing at AT&T responded to a question about the change, and confirmed it was due to AT&T being a member of the Power Matters Alliance, which is a rival wireless charging standard also supported by companies such as Starbucks and Duracell. Starbucks has in fact started rolling out charging pads in their restaurants in USA with PMA support.

Don notes:

In an effort to move toward making this a reality for consumers worldwide, we’ve placed our support for the public ecosystem roll out led by Power Matters Alliance (PMA). The PMA continues to expand membership and is building a strong ecosystem for wireless charging. The PMA solution is already installed at leading coffee shops, airports, stadiums, restaurants, gyms and more, which enables customers to wirelessly charge their phone while on the go.

Of course in reality while the PMA has many members, they have precious few products released, while Qi has quite a bit of momentum from phone OEMs and accessory makers.

The good news is that a wireless charging shell with PMA support is planned, for delivery in 2014. Presumably such shells can be made for most of the other Lumia handsets with wireless charging support, with the Nokia Lumia 920 being the only one with the technology built-in.

See the full letter after the break.

Dear Mr. ____,

We really appreciate your business and the opportunity to provide you wireless service. I am responsible for our Windows Phone portfolio and I personally appreciate your feedback on our Nokia Lumia 1520 announcement.

To address your wireless charging question, charging on the go represents a major convenience for consumers and with new wireless charging standards and participating device and service providers, it’s becoming a reality. We fully support the concept of an industry standard for wireless power and believe it has to expand beyond the home and office.

In an effort to move toward making this a reality for consumers worldwide, we’ve placed our support for the public ecosystem roll out led by Power Matters Alliance (PMA). The PMA continues to expand membership and is building a strong ecosystem for wireless charging. The PMA solution is already installed at leading coffee shops, airports, stadiums, restaurants, gyms and more, which enables customers to wirelessly charge their phone while on the go.

Creating an effortless user experience for consumers is a high priority for us and it means ensuring every detail of compatibility has been well thought out and tested before products are made available. We’ve asked our device suppliers to embed PMA certified wireless charging capability into their devices beginning in 2014. In the interim, we are working with our accessory partners to develop solutions as quickly as possible.

Today, our customers are already enjoying PMA accessories for several devices in our portfolio. The Nokia Lumia 1520 will support the PMA standard via a wireless charging accessory.
I hope you’ll consider the Lumia 1520. My team has worked hard with Nokia and Microsoft to get the 1520 ready for launch at AT&T and I’ve been truly impressed with its screen, camera and performance. I would be happy to facilitate a one-on-one demo of the device in an AT&T store convenient to you as soon as it’s available. Please let me know if this interests you and I’ll provide you with some options on timing and location.

Kind regards,
Don Mooers
Director, Device Product Marketing

Thanks darth_furious for the tip.

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