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One of the worst feelings is to look down at your phone and be greeted with the "Please connect charger" warning prompt. For many of us, our phones are our lifelines, providing us with a constant connection with the online world, our closest friends and family and the wealth of knowledge behind Wikipedia or a quick Google search. But without a charge to keep the phone up and running throughout the day, we are sent back to the dark ages, to the pre-smartphone era.

And that's a scary place.

Battery life has taken a hit over the last few years as smartphones have effectively transformed from pocket-sized email devices to truly powerful, computing machines capable of handling most of our day to day needs. While the internal components have gotten progressively better, faster and more power-hungry, battery technology has remained mostly stagnant, leaving OEMs to make a tough decision: beauty, more power or somewhere in between.

With the right care and moderation, most of the smartphones of today can last through at least most of the day – at least long enough to last between the home and office or until you can find an unoccupied outlet. There are also solutions like different battery packs, extended batteries and even backpacks with a charge that offer a supplementary charge that can help smartphone users make it through a day.

Plugging in every couple hours, however, is neither ideal, convenient or what we should expect out of the pocket-sized device we paid a couple hundred dollars on (along with signing two years of our lives away with a wireless provider). But the larger problems are wearing out the ports on your device substantially faster by plugging it in several times per day, feeling as if you're being physically tied to the closest power supply and having to carry around extra baggage (i.e.: spare batteries, AC adapter and USB cable, etc.) just to keep your phone charged on the go.

Back in 2009, Powermat entered the scene aiming to resolve that by introducing a realistic and feasible way to keep your mobile devices charged without needing cables. Needless to say, Powermat faced very limited success due to overpriced equipment, only launching for a select few devices and not quite meeting expectations. Their cause was noble and they had the right idea. They just missed the mark a bit.

I took a few minutes to talk to Powermat at CES earlier this month, and while they didn't have much else to look at beyond a few working concepts (like the home phone charging cradle concept pictured above) and a suggestion board for attendees to provide feedback on where they would like to see Powermat's products, what they have planned for the future could be quite nice.

For example, they're in talks with automotive manufacturer, GM, trying to fit future cars with wireless inductive pads on the console between the seats. They also had several pieces of conceptual charging furniture – like a kid's toy box with an inductive bottom that would charge inductive battery-powered toys and a Powermat lamp that we've seen before – on display at their booth. However, most of this is old news, nothing we haven't heard before or thought of ourselves.

What I'm more interested in, though, is what wireless charging would, could and should be like by now if more people had given it the consideration it deserved. Why haven't we seen more of this by now?

Imagine if Powermat partnered with specific (or all) mobile manufacturers, who would then fit devices with Powermat inductive batteries before they ever left the packaging factory. Pair that with a GM car, inductive home or office furniture, or public Powermat refueling stations and you've almost entirely removed the need for a pesky AC adapter. Nice, huh?

The sad part is that none of this would be terribly difficult to do on a large scale. Powermat, at one point, stated that their original plan to offer battery doors and cases wasn't as efficient as they had originally hoped, and replacing the battery with one of their own Powerpack would make more sense. GM cars with Powermat charging solutions included should arrive sometime towards the second-half of this year. And it doesn't seem as if creating a plethora of furniture with built-in inductive charging would garner too many hurdles.

Despite all of this from one company, we're still tethered to the wall when we need some extra juice. It's 2012. I expected more companies to invest in this wireless trend. By now, I was hoping I could just throw my phone down on the nearest table and it charge while I'm off doing something else, or pick it up and toss it on the kitchen counter to charge while I cook (as if I ever cook) if need be. The possibilities are endless and complications, from my understanding, are minimal.

I'm ready for OEMs to start packing phones with inductive batteries already. What say you, ladies and gents? Is wireless charging a lost cause? Or is it just ahead of its time?


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31 Reactions to this post

"Does wireless charging matter to you?"


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Jeff Lowe
Jeff Lowe Once they have something wireless that could charge my HTC and wifes iPhone at the same time maybe.
Zach Ortstadt
Zach Ortstadt those palm phones had that. pretty cool. too bad the phones were crap
Tom Ahola
Tom Ahola Good idea but I will never use it as it is energy inefficient. Save energy - save the planet!
Jasmine Blair
Jasmine Blair This technology wouldn't benefit me any
Tom Parker
Tom Parker Instead of having a charger at home and work, you'd have to buy another power may to charge the phone. Plus you couldn't use the phone while it was attached to the power mat!!
Tailpipe Scoggins
Tailpipe Scoggins It's not something that I must have, but it would be nice to see it develop further. I just don't want to see each manufacturer have their own standard... That would not benefit the consumer at all.
Keith Sheehan
Keith Sheehan Wait. People have to plug in their phones? How primitive! (says the man with the Pre3)
Jay Hajj
Jay Hajj Changed from a Palm Pre to an iPhone and really miss my touchstone mounted on the dash.
Joseph Olvera
Joseph Olvera It's way over due. I bet everything we have would be wireless if tesla stayed around long enough to finish his tower.
Nichole Maldonado
Nichole Maldonado yeah cuz the cord i now have for my phone is way too short and it's terrible!
Eric Kroh
Eric Kroh yea..but depends how constant the charge will keep..connection
Matt SnowPaw Dalton
Matt SnowPaw Dalton Wireless charging, WebOS did it best, still does :)
Simon Morris
Simon Morris All new technology is expensive and cumbersome at first. Wireless charging is very important to me. I am dismayed that the OEMs have not started making this a standard part of top of the line phones. I want my phone convenient over sexy thin.
Brandon Johnson
Brandon Johnson If the technology used to charge it wirelessly wasn't so damn expensive and cumbersome it might be nice.
Jose Be Julme
Jose Be Julme Haven't tried it yet.
Tony Abiama
Tony Abiama Nope, not one bit
Kevin Schomer
Kevin Schomer Wireless electricity from Tesla!
Dietrich Brown
Dietrich Brown No
Zach Cline
Zach Cline I don't really mind plugging in. But i think we'll see an emphasis on wireless charging this year . People will be dragged kicking and screaming into change .
Justin A Malakhow
Justin A Malakhow Nikola Tesla anyone?
Dillon Brantner
Dillon Brantner It would only matter to me if it was integrated in my car.
Tim Killian
Tim Killian Not really
Diego Moises Quezada
Diego Moises Quezada If it means charging my phone 1 time a week and I'm good to go then yea but if not then why bother
Tim Miyashiro
Tim Miyashiro Not really, I'm not that lazy. But it would be nice to have
Caleb Strickland
Caleb Strickland no.unless i am doing something like talking on the phone and you here a beep and i have to end my call.I can not move my phone why it is charging
Charles Jones
Charles Jones Nah
Igor Bukhantsov
Igor Bukhantsov But great point, u can't hold it while charging
Joshua M Haut
Joshua M Haut Would be nice if there was a system that the minute you enter your car, office, or house your phone automatically started to charge !
Elis Diaz
Elis Diaz How is wireless charging dumb? Because you prefer to charge it while you're sleeping? I think it would be great feature to have, it's like thinking wireless internet access is dumb, because I have it plugged into my computer anyway? That's just silly logic.
Bill Gillespie
Bill Gillespie nope useless technology, you cant hold your phone when its charging.. thats just dicked
Tim Larkin
Tim Larkin nope. its dumb. since 95% of the time my phone is charging while im sleeping...




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