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Gear4 Brings Wireless Charging to iPhone 3G/3GS

Gordon Kelly


Gear4 Brings Wireless Charging to iPhone 3G/3GS

Could wireless charging be the next technological battleground? Let's hope so...

Following on from similar tech seen in the Dell Z600, Palm Pre and - particularly relevant here - the Powermat, is news Gear4 will launch its own entry into this quickly crowding space.

The 'PowerPad' has been made specifically with the iPhone 3G and 3GS in mind and takes a somewhat different path to the many conductive charging approaches out there (contact points in a charge pad). Instead it uses inductive charging (like Powermat) where power is simply transmitted through the case to the iPhone battery (think of your electric toothbrush). The result is an iPhone can be placed anywhere on the charging mat to operate and doesn't require bulky magnets to keep the case in the right position to be charged.

A case does need to be used with this system, but it has been designed to also be used day to day as a protective cover which should add convenience. As for charge times Gear4 claims its inductive system has the same charge time as a standard wired charger - something which is crucial to the long term success of wireless charging.

"Our vision of the future of wireless power is what makes this product launch so significant," said Gear4 CEO Tom Dudderidge. "We believe that wireless charging will become pervasive over the next decade, lead by the widespread adoption of standards. The launch of PowerPad represents the start of this transition."

Dudderidge is right, we do need to find a common standard to move things on but - as with Draft N wireless - common sense can go a long way in the meantime while industry bodies squabble about micro detail.

Until then, at £79.99 the PowerPad may not be cheap but when it arrives in November it will represent another highly desirable step into the future. Let the battle commence!




October 14, 2009, 1:32 pm

Is anyone else completely non-plussed by wireless charging of mobile devices? I mean, how much effort does it take to plug your phone in at night? Are you folks really incentivised to spend that much money on these devices?

Don't get me wrong - I like the idea of wireless power transmission, and I look forward to the day it's applied to TV's and the like. I'm just not convinved of the usefullness to cost ratio at this stage.

Also, aren't the manufacturers of cordless charging devices barking up the wrong tree? Isn't the real market for them to supply the tech to the handset manufacturers, who can incorporate it into the general cost of the phone, and get _everyone_ using them? If this doesn't happen, I predict that Nokia etc will be developing their own versions soon enough.


October 14, 2009, 2:32 pm

I agree with some of what you are saying Bluepork but I'm still interested. Take my set up as an example of one that a wireless charger would have uses for.

At the moment I have a Squeezebox connected to my hifi (in living room) controlled via iPhone. Squeezecenter is on my laptop which will be often be found in any of the rooms in my house. My plug in charger is used at the office. Now, a wireless charger mat like Gear4's would be great in the living room in that I can listen to music for hours without worrying about the battery drain on the iPhone or mucking about with cables. In from work, turn on hifi, iPeng working fine and charging with ease.

Now, dont get me wrong, I wouldnt spend the money myself. But with Christmas coming up and the other half scratching her head for gift ideas this is the sort of stocking filler I would be delighted to get!


October 14, 2009, 6:23 pm

true wireless charging need to be able to charge the device in a radius of certain distance other than 'touching'... then we'll be talking.


October 14, 2009, 8:13 pm

Jones - I've got a similar AV set up. In that all the gadgets are hidden away and wirelessly controlled via iPhone / iPod touch.

The only thing visable in my living room is the plasma TV, 5 discrete speakers and a universal dock that accepts IR control from my all in one remote.

That said, I still find myself agreeing with Blupork. I get in from work, select my music on my iPhone and plonk in the dock for all to see the album cover art of the track and is happily charging away. Not sure what this device would do to improve on that?

- If I want to charge it at work I would either plug into my usb port of the laptop (or presumably have another of these devices sitting on my desk)?

- If I want to charge while on the plane/train again I plug into my USB port or portable powersocket to USB to iPod connector. Not sure this would ever be an option while traveling?

As xbrumster says, it only really works if it charges while its in my hand and in my pocket.


October 14, 2009, 9:05 pm

Horses for courses I guess. I don't have a dock and apple wasnt exactly generous with the cable length for its usb connections so, with current set up in mind, the plug in the wall isn't going to work.

I totally accept that £'s could be saved by buying a regular dock though (as long as its cable was long enough to first reach power point and secondly reach chair/table). I guess I just see it as something that would be handy to have on the armrest or coffee table and would save me fiddling with a dock or usb connections.

Jack 6

October 15, 2009, 11:25 pm

I would be more intrested to see this appear for a more general use, such as built into a coffee shop table, sit down, plonk your phone on the table, sip your drink and then off to work.


December 31, 2009, 2:51 am

Avoid this company and product at all costs. I ordered one for a Christmas present and was promised it would arrive before Christmas......It didnt. They still took my money though despite saying I did not want it if it wasnt going to arrive. Customer Service is non existant, numerous telephone messages and emails and no response - not even from the Managing Director. If you get a faulty product I doubt you will get anywhere. Save your money and the hassle!

John Abbot

August 11, 2010, 2:01 pm

I have been able to compare the gear4 with the powermat as my brother has one he got from http://www.wirelesschargers... and to be honest they both are pretty naf and pointless. Yes it is a bit easier to charge but worth an extra £50??? No not in my opinion. stick to wired chargers until the technology improves

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