The unrealized potential of wireless charging for tablets

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

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  • RE: The unrealized potential of wireless charging for tablets

    It seems like it would make a lot of sense to put a wireless charger into a car. I would love to see it.
    • RE: The unrealized potential of wireless charging for tablets

      @kenjionozawa check out the stuff that University of Auckland (NZ) has been developing on the IPT tech
  • RE: The unrealized potential of wireless charging for tablets

    One of the most frequent criticisms of the TouchPad was its thickness compared to its competitors and HP pretty openly stated that it was as thick as it was due to the induction charging coil. I suspect that is a big part of the reason why this hasn't become a common feature yet. At least so far, "thin" is a much stronger selling point than "wireless charging".
  • RE: The unrealized potential of wireless charging for tablets

    Wait till th Windows 8 tablets show up at least a few will have wireless charging as well as a real OS, rather than a lame phone OS. You'll have the power of Windows, the world's best security, and all day battery life. It will be the best of everything rolled into one.
    • RE: The unrealized potential of wireless charging for tablets


      I sure hope your right.
    • RE: The unrealized potential of wireless charging for tablets

      we'll see, we'll see about the big coming miracle of winarm tablets, which according to many will fall just short of solving world peace. I predict an epic fail along the lines of winphone and the kin. Grab the popcorn...
  • RE: The unrealized potential of wireless charging for tablets

    I got my Touchpad during the fire sale and I did not purchase the charging dock. The price was too prohibitive for me. The price went down and I purchased it for $29.00. You are right, it is a "release from prison". I love it. Its the way to go for electronics.
  • RE: The unrealized potential of wireless charging for tablets

    You know it's a lot easier just plugging in a cable, especially since that other end can plug into a wall outlet, laptop, car 12v, mobile battery pack...

    Never mind that a mobile battery pack will charge all your mobile gadgets, including stuff you buy in the future. You can waste money on spare batteries for every device - I just bought ONE that works with ALL of them.

    Touchstone charging is a novelty. My TP2 sits in it's USB dock happily, all the while feeding audio into my home HiFi system. I've yet to see a microUSB jack go "wrong", bad cables can be easily replaced, and there's no need to send your unit in for repair and be without your gadget for two weeks if the induction coil ceases to work.

    You seem reluctant James to see the benefits of what a good mobile battery pack can offer. I suggest you take a look at what the Energizer XP8000 can do.
  • RE: The unrealized potential of wireless charging for tablets

    Thanks for sharing I sure hope your right.
  • The Issue of Health Risks

    Real or not, the issue of health risks needs to be addressed. That's what people are talking about on the outside. And it's not just "can I be harmed when in proximity to this device". It's also the concern about what happens when your kid inadvertently sits on it or you rest your elbow on the charge pad for a period of time.
  • Environment anyone?

    Induction charging has to have a large percentage of the electricity wasted. The government is banning incandescent bulbs, but ignoring many other ways to waste energy.

    No, I'm not for banning anything, but education is important, and any article on wireless charging should mention wasted energy.

    "If you ban enough stuff, this will be a perfect country." FLAP Freedom Lovers Against Propaganda
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