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MWC 2010: PowerMat Vision to Revolutionise Charging

Gordon Kelly

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MWC 2010: PowerMat Vision to Revolutionise Charging

You've likely seen the ads for Powermat, the wireless charging company has been on a nationwide spending spree over the last four months to showcase its three position docking station and array of smartphone and MP3 player receiver cases. Well, 750,000 units later the company is ready to take a number of significant strides forward.

Perhaps most simple amongst them is the redesign and expansion of the Powermat itself into one, two and three position mats all of which are vastly slimmer and more minimalistic than their predecessor (above). The receivers to go with these mats have also been given a 2.0 makeover with the notably bulky iPhone receiver (below) benefitting from a substantial reduction and new soft silicon finish. Prepack bundles will also be sold offering these mats with a choice of receiver.

New to the Powermat range will also be portable mats which can be store multiple charges. These will come in both two and three position versions, the latter of which has a single enhanced position capable of charging a portable laptop or netbook. Portable mats will come with multiple adaptors covering most of the major laptop brands.

Next up and Powermat is taking on the TomTom market with a wireless car charger. Given it use the same suction cup style design as TomTom's pricey offering and has a built in battery like the portable matts, it will charge your handset without messy cables - a nice bit of one-upmanship.

All these lines will hit the UK before Q3, though we await pricing information.

That isn't all though. Giving us a glimpse of its ambitious plans for the future Powermat also outlined plans to move into the handset space by making batteries with its contact-based charging technology built directly into them. This would eliminate the need for any form of receiver case, though given the non-removable nature of iPhone batteries owners of Apple's handset wouldn't be able to benefit.

Next are plans to build Powermats for charging the infamously fiddling batteries in professional DSLRs and camcorders, while most ambitious of all is the moveto integrate Powermat technology directly into home and office surfaces so laptops or kitchen appliances could simply be moved onto a Powermat 'ring' and immediately start working/charging. No timescale was put on this particular breakthrough (which was also extended to walls for hanging lights or powering TVs cable free), but I'd like to see it ASAP.

Consequently, what may have started off as a somewhat quirky company is showing signs of maturing fast. Could we have a new 'Duracell' for the 21st century? Looks like...

Gareth 4

February 22, 2010, 6:33 am

I see these and I think it's very cool, however with the technology industry at least trying to attempt to be 'green' I'm not sure how inductive charging is going to fall into place. How power efficient are the power mats compared to regular plug in chargers? (which aren't usually that efficient anyway)

PGrGr

February 22, 2010, 2:46 pm

Totally agree, Gareth. The laws of physics determine that wireless charging is less efficient than wired charging. However, I don't think your average consumer gives a hoot about that.





Also, I just don't get what the big deal is. Maybe I'm alone in thinking this, but is it really so inconvenient to plug your phone in to charge it?!

morsch

February 22, 2010, 3:41 pm

85% to 90% efficiency, apparently. Sounds good, but OTOH of course that multiplies with the already appalling efficiency of the power supply and of charging batteries in the first place.

PGrGr

February 22, 2010, 6:08 pm

Morsch,





So we're going to need 10-15% more energy to charge exactly the same devices, just because we don't like wires? Doesn't sound very environmentally sound to me!

Gordon394

February 22, 2010, 6:32 pm

Re: power efficiency - all Powermats stop charging a device once it is fully charged, this can still be quite rare amongst phone chargers so there is a major energy saving there. Furthermore, one charger for three/four devices is more convenient than three or four separate chargers and the benefit comes in just placing them all on one mat rather than plugging in each one individually.





Of course, there is little benefit if your only portable device is a phone, but for most people it is 2, 3 or even 4 devices that need charging at the end of the day. I do get your points though, and I think standardisation is required to drive wireless charging forward.

xbrumster

February 22, 2010, 10:39 pm

Universal charger = universal powermat





make a powermat strip at train stations and everyone can power their phone there.


or powerkeyboard: put your phonbe next to your keyboard and it automatically charges.


powerdesk: the whole desk is powermat enabled, not only charge your phone, chage your netbook/laptop/printer/router etc all at once





I need to have a lay down

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