The unrealized potential of wireless charging for tablets

Summary:Wireless charging is a great feature for mobile gadgets, and tablets in particular. You wouldn't know that by the lack of options in the marketplace.

I have too many gadgets, it's part of who I am and what I do. I'm not alone, though, as many of my friends have smartphones and tablets in addition to laptops. All of these gadgets have one thing in common, the need to drink regularly from the power well to keep on running. Keeping all of these gadgets charged daily is frankly a pain on the patoot, and would be a lot easier if wireless charging ever took off as it should.

A while back I jumped on the wireless charging movement when I picked up a Powermat for my HTC EVO 4G. This little mat let me conveniently set the phone on its surface and it would charge it right up. I didn't have to try and finagle the little microUSB connector to charge the phone; just set it down and walk away. This was hands-down the most useful smartphone accessory I have ever owned.

Flash forward to last year and the same can be said for the HP TouchPad and the Touchstone dock. This took wireless charging to the next level, not only easily topping off the battery but serving as a desktop dock, too. The tablet could be used for reference while sitting in the dock charging away. This was the most useful tablet accessory I have owned.

Why don't tablet makers incorporate wireless charging into the case like HP and the TouchPad? I don't think it would take up that much space/bulk, and probably wouldn't add much to production costs. Those costs would be recovered by selling wireless charging stands/docks anyway.

Wireless charging for phones and tablets doesn't seem like a big convenience until you experience it firsthand. There is something liberating every time you set the gadget on the mat or dock. You don't have to fuss with those connectors, and you don't have make sure the device is really charging. You simply place the tablet on the stand and leave it alone.

Tablet makers are scrambling to set their device apart from the crowd, and this feature would certainly do that. I believe a good implementation of wireless charging on a tablet would be well received by the market. This potential is unrealized, waiting for some smart company to jump on it.

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Mobility, Networking, Tablets, Wi-Fi

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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