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Tech that needs to improve: wireless charging

Another of the 'new' technologies we'll see in 2011 that's technology we've seen in 2010 (or even 2009), done better is wireless charging.This is about as new as electricity itself; Tesla abandoned research on wireless power at the request of the power companies who couldn't work out how to charge for it (no pun intended).

Another of the 'new' technologies we'll see in 2011 that's technology we've seen in 2010 (or even 2009), done better is wireless charging.

This is about as new as electricity itself; Tesla abandoned research on wireless power at the request of the power companies who couldn't work out how to charge for it (no pun intended). Intel's figured that out; use cryptography to prevent the power receiver from dispensing the power unless you're paying for it. Plenty of companies have worked out how to scale the power; Fulton already powers motors underwater and on oil rigs where you can't afford a spark and we've seen their system powering a blender to crush ice. You don't lose a lot in efficiency or charging time - but you don't gain enough in convenience yet either. Palm put wireless charging into the Pre, Dell has a pad that will charge a notebook, Powermat and Duracell have charging mats and pads… and that's the problem.

This could also be an entry in a blog series sub-titled 'the bleeding obvious' as In-Stat has come up with some predictions for the size of the wireless charging market (over $4 billion by 2014) accompanied by the blindingly obvious warning that "widespread adoption of wireless charging technology will be difficult without standardization"). Unless I can buy the add-on charging case for my device in the cute design I want or get the replacement battery or better yet have the technology built in - and use it on any charging mat I come across - then we're going to carry on having power cables. Unlocking the power cable will have far more of an impact than unlocking the network cable has, but it won't happen until the industry plays nice and makes this a standard. If we see that in 2011, it will be new.

Mary Branscombe