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Fulton Innovation has signed a deal with Case-Mate, the protective case manufacturer, to embed charging circuits into their products.

The deal is light on specifics, but the plan is to embed Fulton's charging circuits into the cases, which will subtly plug into the existing power socket, rather than leaving a gap as they generally now do. Users charge up their gadgets by placing them on a specially-constructed mat, which can charge up several gadgets at the same time.

Having bought up a rival or two, Fulton is the major player in the proximity-power industry - such as it is - and have been trying to get manufacturers of gadgets to embed its circuits for years, with little success. Without being embedded it's not easy to get proximity power working - convincing punters to attach dongles to their gadgets is really hard, and they are expensive to develop, so fitting the circuits into cases makes sense if you feel that proximity charging is a capability worth having.

That problem is that punters are pretty ambivalent about the idea, once the initial cool factor has disappeared. The Palm Pre uses proximity charging, and looks cool for it, but it is hard to imagine the technology getting much wider appeal, even if it does come embedded in a pretty cover. ®

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