CES 2010 saw more than a few jam packed areas; with Intel, Microsoft, and LG pretty much holding the traffic jam titles. However there was one place that seemed to be even worse than those three. This was the Powermat booth, on my trip to visit Vuzix I had to make a large detour around this area just to make my appointment with them. Afterwards I tried to get back by but was unable to even find the end of the line so that I could begin my wait. I had the feeling that something pretty cool was going on at the other end of the line.
Well as it turned out I was finally able to get by there on the last day of the show. I found out that one of the reasons for the long lines was that Powermat had chosen to restrict access to full booth. To get in you had to wait on someone to come and escort you around. As the line was virtually non-existent on Sunday our wait was less than five minutes to get inside the showroom.
Once inside we were treated to a well laid out display of current and future products. First up was the current two charging pads that Powermat offers. These are the mobile and the home pad. Each of these is capable of charging up to three devices. These pads use a form of magnetic inductive charging that transfers the power through a magnetic component in the pad and also in the adapter. This means that without an adapter the charging pad is dormant and no power is pushed to the individual pad.
Fortunately each charging pad comes with a single multi-purpose adapter with multiple tips to cover most devices.
Multi-Purpose adapter and charging tips
As you can see; Powermat has a charger tip for just about any device you may have.
However, one of the problems with the Powermat line has been the size of the adapters that you need to use. For the time being you have to use a case with a large adapter plate on the back. This makes it bulky and awkward, and in the case of the iPhone difficult to get on and off. But we were told that Powermat is not only aware of this issue but it working on new cases that do not have the same large plate on the back. These are going to be closer to the current ?gel? cases that are out there in terms of size and weight.
iPhone charging case with External Battery
Powermat is also planning to release a new charging case complete with an external battery. This will be a welcome addition to many smart phone users [I know my iPhone simply eats up its battery at times].
But smart phone and small device charging is not the limit for Powermat; they are working on a higher wattage charging system that will be able to charge your netbook in the near future. Unfortunately we did not get a timeline for when the new pads would be out but it is certainly something to look forward to for all of the netbook owners out there.
The next item we were shown was a travel pad with its own internal battery. This would allow you to charge up the pad and take it with you to keep your mobile devices going even when there is no direct access to wall power. The new portable pads will come in one and two device sizes; again no word on when they will be here or how much they will cost once they arrive.
Portable wireless charging
Powermat also showed us their concept for an in-car charger for your smart phone as well as a very cool idea. As we mentioned above people are not overly happy with the need to use bulky cases for wireless charging. To this end Powermat is developing a complete system that will replace the back case and the internal battery on some devices.
Wireless charging in your car
Now on products like the iPhone where you are not allowed to replace your own battery, you will have to stick with the case [fortunately those are getting slimmer] but one products like the Blackberry and many other cell phones Powermat will offer replacement batteries and identical backs meaning that you can keep your phone looking ?normal? and still enjoy the benefits of wireless charging. Powermat is also developing more than just batteries for cell phones; we even saw digital camera batteries including one that would fit our brand new Canon Digital Rebel T1i. All in all we were rather impressed with how far Powermat has come and where they are going in the near future. We will be bringing you an evaluation of their travel mat and iPhone charging case in the very near future so stay tuned. For now we will leave you with an idea of how many devices you will be able to charge using a Powermat in the future.
Looks just like the real thing