Monday, October 1, 2007

Wireless charging: Please get here soon...and with a single standard

The day before I finished this Globe column about the prospects for wireless charging pads, I had one of those fun experiences where both my cell phone and laptop ran out of power while I was up in New Hampshire, and I'd stupidly left both chargers elsewhere. What's great about the concept of charging pads built into cars, hotel room desks, and airplane tray tables is that they'd let you charge devices without toting along their myriad power adapters. But the danger is that we might wind up with warring standards -- one charging pad might not juice a certain brand of phone, for instance.

Here's the gist of the column:

    Wireless power transfer is the next new frontier for the consumer electronics industry, and unlike a 47.3 megapixel digital camera or a combination cellphone/pepper grinder, it's something that consumers actually want. And several years after companies like Splashpower Ltd. of Britain began demonstrating charging pads, big electronics companies are starting to show interest in helping bring the technology to market.

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Blogger Mike Feinstein said...

I think that this is an interesting area, but one that will take a long time to catch on. It's not because users don't want this. I think that they do. But, it will take a while before industry-wide standards take hold and for manufacturers build in the wireless charging capability into their products. It's a chicken/egg problem. Manufacturers won't be pushed into an industry-wide standard and add the cost of this extra charging capability into their products until there is consumer demand and wireless charging infrastructure. And, that infrastructure won't exist until there are products to take advantage of it.

The way that gets broken is if some manufacturer takes the leap to eat the cost by providing wired and wireless charging for their products in order to steal marketshare. As a consumer, you wouldn't invest extra in a wireless charging solution unless it could charge multiple products of yours. How many of these kinds of recharageable products that you own come from the same vendor.

Mike Feinstein

October 1, 2007 11:55 AM  
Blogger Scott Kirsner said...


I think it'd be interesting to see Apple back this technology... which would let you charge their laptops, phones, and MP3 players...


October 1, 2007 5:45 PM  

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