WIRELESS CHARGING outfit Powermat has launched inductive coupling products in the UK that allow wireless charging of mobile phones and other electronic devices.
There are two versions of the mat available, a thin home and office version and a portable fold-up unit. Both can wirelessly charge up to three devices at a time and include a USB port as well to charge one more device the traditional way.
To wirelessly charge one of your gadgets you'll need to equip it with one of the receivers. In the case of some Blackberrys this can be done with a replacement back cover, while the Apple Iphone and Ninentdo DS get a special cover which has the receiver embedded in it.
There is also the option of using an Apple dock accessory for Ipods, and most other devices can be charged using the Powercube, a small block with a mini-USB port and a collection of other heads to connect to most of today's phones.
Once you place the receiver on the mat, an RFID tag identifies the device, how much current it requires and its battery level. The connection is monitored at all times and power transmission will cease once the connection is broken.
"Tangled wires, multiple adaptors and ugly brick chargers have become an unfortunate side-affect [sic] of the digital age," said George McGhee, managing director of Powermat Europe.
"But Powermat brings this to an end with an easy-to-use, convenient and simple system that de-clutters your home or office in style. The technology is able to scale up to address higher power applications and is flexible enough to be embedded into both existing and future device designs."
At first glance, this may not seem that much more convenient than just using a regular charger, but certainly in the case of the Blackberry we can see where Powermat is coming from, or trying to get to, rather.
The company is also working with device manufacturers and OEMs to get its technology embedded right into the units or their batteries, thereby making it a lot easier. The mat is also powerful enough to be able to charge netbooks and similarly sized devices.
Powermat couldn't give us details on who might be providing Powermat compatible devices, but it promised that there will be some related announcements coming at the CES show in January.
The guys at Powermat reckon their system has an efficiency rating of about 90 per cent but couldn't tell us what the idle power draw is. We've been given a unit to review, so we'll have our own results soon.
You can buy a Powermat from John Lewis, Amazon or Carphone Warehouse, but they aren't exactly cheap. The mat costs £70 for the home and office version and £80 for the portable one, with receivers going for between £30 and £35 each. µ
Best get patching before things go balls up
That warehouse wasn't going to empty itself
Firms are are 'final stages' of negotiating a deal
Social network tries to tip the scales in its favour