Google envisions laptops that double as wireless phone chargers

Wireless charging coils under a laptop keyboard could power a phone's battery but there's a logistical issue with the approach.
Written by Kevin Tofel, Contributor

Future Chromebooks could wirelessly charge your smartphone if Google has its way.

SlashGear noted that the company filed a patent for an "inductive charging keyboard" that puts wireless charging coils under the keys of a laptop. Any implementation would need enough power obviously, to charge both the laptop and a phone.

Chromebook Pixel keyboard and glass trackpad

That may not be an issue though. Google's latest Chromebook, the 2015 edition of the Pixel, is the company's first laptop that includes a pair of USB Type-C connectors.

Related: One month with the new Chromebook Pixel: Still impressive for my needs

These are used for charging the computer, for transmitting data over USB and for external displays. Aside from the multiple capabilities in a single port, USB Type-C also handles more power than previous USB standards: Up to 20 Volts / 100 Watts of electricity at 5 Amps.

While I'm all for any solution that adds a more convenient method to charge a phone, I'm not sold on how Google would make this work.

When using a laptop, it's likely that you're not using your phone. That makes it a perfect time to drop the handset on a wireless charging pad. But if the keyboard is the charging pad, you can't place the phone there and use the laptop at the same time.

On the other hand, if you stopped using your laptop, you could charge the phone by placing it on the keyboard. There's still a logistical challenge though: That's the time when you'd more likely be using your phone.

I think I'll stick with my USB cord and charge the phone from the laptop for now.

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