Powermat, a company that specialises in wirelessly charging gadgets such as BlackBerry smartphones and iPhones, is to start marketing wireless battery packs. This will enable handsets to be recharged without the need for an accessory device to pick up the charge.
The present Powermat charging approach is to embed a rechargable cell into the outside of an iPod or other smartphone sleeve. This additional cover is then placed in contact with the Powermat charging device that holds the charge. Any device can be recharged using a Powermat, but it must have a corresponding rechargeable cell. Powermat currently sells a mat on which three separate devices can be simultaneously charged and is about to launch dual-device and single device versions.
Simultaneously, however, the company has developed batteries that can be recharged using the same technique but without the need for a smartphone jacket. Instead, the regular lithium-ion battery is removed and switched for a Powermat one designed specially for the item. This allows for a lighter, slimmer setup and means that handset owners who prefer to customise their gadgets with coloured or protective cases can do so.
A small amount of power is required in order to enable the Powermat battery to work, but this is embedded in the replacement cover for the phone in question. The Powermat battery will be sold with the charging plate cover as part of the bundle. Charging time and power supplied are comparable to those of a lithium-ion equivalent.
At a demonstration at Mobile World Congress, we were told that Powermat is in talks with many of the best-known handset makers with a view to offering such a wireless charging solution as an accessory or even as part of the standard bundle. It hopes manufacturers will adopt the idea and offer it to consumers for free, rather than charging customers for the convenience of being able to wirelessly charge their phones by placing them on a special mat.