Powermat wireless device chargers finally materialize

Powermat wireless device chargers finally materialize

Summary: Powermat has been touting its wireless chargers for awhile now -- ever since CES 2009, quite frankly -- but now they're finally available for you, the consumer, to purchase.The Powermat is a one-pad, one-plug system (pictured above right) that charges all your gadgets in one place without wires.

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Powermat has been touting its wireless chargers for awhile now -- ever since CES 2009, quite frankly -- but now they're finally available for you, the consumer, to purchase.

The Powermat is a one-pad, one-plug system (pictured above right) that charges all your gadgets in one place without wires. The way it works is that your gadget gets a special "Powermat Receiver" sleeve so that it can use magnetic induction charging to power your devices.

(Aren't familiar with magnetic induction? If you've got an Oral-B rechargeable toothbrush, or a Palm Touchstone charger for your Pre, it's the same thing.)

The Powermat itself retails for $99.99, and costs another $40 per receiver. The company has cases available for Apple iPhone 3G and iPod touch, RIM BlackBerry (Bold, Curve 8300, Curve 8900, Pearl) and the Nintendo DS portable gaming system.

Cheap? Hardly. Mouth-gapingly cool? Absolutely.

It's available now at Best Buy and Target stores.

Topics: Mobility, Networking, Wi-Fi

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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13 comments
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  • Am I missing something?

    Am I correct in that the devices being charged are sitting somewhere on this mat, much the same as they'd be sitting somewhere on a charging cord? What's the actual advantage?
    mgp3
    • if built-in, it's cool

      If it's built into the device, such that I *only* need to lay it on this universal charging pad, then I think it's a cool and useful feature. If I end up retrofitting devices, by putting them into sleeves, it seems a bit of wasted effort. (Unless I'm not understanding the sleeves, which is possible.)

      Frankly, I'd be thrilled enough if all our gizmos would standardize on USB chargers (mini and/or micro) so I can have one home plug and one car plug that would work with ANY device. (Cell makers have reportedly agreed to micro USB for all cell phones sold in Europe starting next year. Hope the US gets this "voluntary" agreement also!)
      bmgoodman
      • If it charged in the sleeve in my holster...

        THEN I'd say it's a handy device. But I really see no convenience when I still have to place the device somewhere, not on my person, charge.
        mgp3
    • Advantages.

      Advantages:

      No cord to lose.

      No cord for small pets to chew on.

      andrew.nusca
      • What about the cord that powers the charging pad? (NT)

        NT
        mgp3
        • Of course.

          ...but the whole point is to reduce the amount of cords you've got going overall.

          The existence of this system is to:

          a.) Introduce new technology;

          b.) Reduce wires for consumers with many gadgets.

          Clearly, it's the kind of tech for early adopters who dig innovative products.

          This by no means is a sensible way to save money -- it's a premium price to pay for a convenience.
          andrew.nusca
  • RE: Powermat wireless device chargers finally materialize

    Maybe it would be great if you could power the mat by walking or talking and then you could leave the device on your body 24-7 and that would make it easy. I will look into it when I have more than one compatible device.
    steve@...
  • RE: Powermat wireless device chargers finally materialize

    So, $140 just to charge my iPhone? Today, I can drop it
    in my dock, it stands vertically, and I can play music
    and sync thru the dock as well. There's a wire to the
    wall socket to charge it, and there's a wire on this
    charging pad.

    I don't see the attraction - dropping a phone into a
    well-designed dock is really no less convenient.

    Whatever.
    fmalloy
    • Agree

      Instead of a cord, you have a sleeve that you need to carry around.
      More importantly, if you ever travel, you have to carry the phone, the
      sleeve, AND the charging mat - which is less convenient than just
      carrying the phone charger (of course, if you leave the mat at home
      and carry the charger with you when you travel, you haven't saved
      anything.

      More importantly, there's an energy issue. I don't know the efficiency
      of these devices, but there are some losses in converting electricity to
      microwave (or whatever) and then back again. On one phone, it's a
      minor issue, but with millions of phones using it, the energy wastage
      would be huge. We don't need any more energy wasters that don't
      add value (the Sonic toothbrushes at least are designed to minimize
      the energy loss).

      FAIL.
      jragosta
  • RE: Powermat wireless device chargers finally materialize

    The charging sleeve would simply replace the exisiting case
    you have. As for carrying a charger I'm guessing you can still
    use your existing iPhone charger but instead of using the USB
    to 30pin Doc cable you carry a USB to mini-USB to charge the
    device, which is more standardised.
    almond81
  • RE: Powermat wireless device chargers finally materialize

    Its great! I saw another one that charges many devices simultaneously but its got electricity wire. Well I guess in the end of the day they all need a wire...right?
    Check out the video http://smartphone.biz-news.com/news/en_US/2009/09/10/0002/ifa-2009-idapt-presents-universal-desktop-charger-for-all-devices
    gizerpa
  • RE: Powermat wireless device chargers finally materialize

    I saw this reviewed at other sites. It's great but not useful if you only have one device. :)

    http://www.gizmoelectronics.blogspot.com
    http://www.stophighcosts.com
    kquaker
  • RE: Powermat wireless device chargers finally materialize

    So how come its only been <a rel=dofollow href="//www.electrictoothbrush4u.co.uk/" style="border:none;color:inherit;background-color: inherit;background-image: none;font-weight:normal;text-decoration:none;cursor:text">Oral-B electric toothbrushes</a> that have used this technology in the home (and for a long time). Is it due to energy transfer efficiency or something else.
    ChrisACooper