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Wireless charging set to take off, are you on board?



Market research firm iSuppli (via Slashgear) claims the wireless charging market is set to expand by a factor of 65 by 2014 with more than 200M units shipping by then. Are you charged up about the possibility, or is that too early to cut the cord?

I was in the latter camp as the current wave of wireless charging solutions emerged. I started to warm up to the idea after seeing a Palm Pre Touchstone turned into a car mount. Later, I checked out wireless charging stations with Amy at CES. Most recently, I’ve been further swayed by Warner’s review of the Powermat charging system. Now I have a pretty good idea how wireless charging would fit into my routine.

Overnight wireless charging seems like a waste of the technology to me. It takes little more effort to plug in, sleep for 6-8 hours, then unplug, than it does to do the same except with a charging pad. A better use would be in a situation where I pick up my device on a regular and repeated basis, like at work.

At my desk, I use a speaker dock to play music and keep my iPhone charged. Even on a slow day, I’m plucking my phone from the dock every couple of hours or so. I’m considering a Bluetooth adapter, like the one I use in my car, allowing me to pick up my iPhone without breaking the audio connection. However, streaming music via Bluetooth on top of receiving it from Pandora over 3G is a serious power drain. And that’s where wireless charging can save the day. Just slide on the charging case at work, drop it on the pad whenever it’s not in use, and I can use my iPhone tied to anything while at work.

Another possible use would be in the car, like that guy did with his Palm Pre Touchstone except I’d go with a cup holder mount or something similar. On a busy day out, I might be streaming music and checking maps with GPS, which is a triple whammy on power consumption. Easy enough to plug in, I know, but if I’m making a series of stops, that could be a lot of plug-unplug repetition.

Ultimately, wireless charging is a convenience. If it was a mission critical necessity, HP wouldn’t own Palm. But is it a worthwhile convenience? Not for overnight charging, but at work and on-the-go, I can see it being useful. If the market does boom to 200M units by 2014, I think I’ll be part of that group. How about you?



  1. Mark

    07/01/2010 at 1:27 pm

    If I could charge it while it was in my pocket or on the car seat or something I’d be all for it, but what’s the difference between putting it on a desk and plugging in a cord and putting it on a desk and not plugging in a card? Either way it’s in the same place doing the same thing and if you move it, it will stop charging. Plus for that currently available solution, the name of which escapes me at the moment, the phone goes in a case that holds the electronics which is even worse. Final nail in the coffin…it’s expensive. Count me out.

  2. JeffGr

    07/01/2010 at 2:27 pm

    I’ve had a Palm Pre for about 9 months now and I will honestly say that the Touchstone is one of my favorite features. I ended up buying two of them: one for home and one for work. I originally thought it sounded kind of gimmicy, but I have been amazed at how convenient it is to be able to very quickly grab the phone when I need it (or am heading somewhere) and put it back on the charger when done. I’m actually surprised that the other phone manufacturers haven’t quickly made inductive charging a standard feature.

  3. Mickey Segal

    07/01/2010 at 3:17 pm

    Wireless charging is far from 100% efficient in transferring the power. I’d prefer some standardization of chargers rather than a new reason to use extra energy.

    Why haven’t any of the environmental activists gone after this issue?

  4. Ben

    07/01/2010 at 4:12 pm

    Meh, I’d rather just drop my phone into a dock where it charges, as well as can be hooked up to a desktop screen, keyboard, mouse, speakers, etc. like the docks of many ultra-portable pcs. Wireless docking would be ok, but not if it’s slow.

    I’d also prefer universal charing standards, like mini-usb or whatever, rather than different plugs for every device.

  5. Roberto

    07/01/2010 at 4:50 pm

    Yeah for universal charging standard.

  6. Paul Harrigan

    07/01/2010 at 11:10 pm

    I agree that the current tech for wireless charging is both too inefficient and basically pointless.

    Hopefully, someday soon there will be a worthwhile approach available.

  7. Bill2455

    07/02/2010 at 7:35 am

    The Touchstone is one of the Palm Pre’s features that keep me with the Pre (the other is webOS, of course). It is uber convenient. I have three (home, car, second home) of them now after spent a skeptical three months without them after I bought my Pre. Until you’ve tried it, don’t knock it, even for overnight charging.

    • Buster

      02/18/2011 at 3:03 pm

      SPAM BOT… worthless Palm Shill.

    • Buster

      02/18/2011 at 3:03 pm

      SPAM BOT… worthless Palm Shill.

    • Buster

      02/18/2011 at 3:03 pm

      SPAM BOT… worthless Palm Shill.

    • Buster

      02/18/2011 at 3:03 pm

      SPAM BOT… worthless Palm Shill.

  8. Disappointed

    07/05/2010 at 5:04 am

    Purchased a PowerMat and I was completely disappointed with it. For the wireless charging to work I was required to purchase, if available, a special backing for each device. The universal adapter still involved plugging an adapter into the device. At least some manufacturers seem to be standardizing on micro and Mini USB connectors but wireless charging is too specialized to have broad market impact.

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