Energizer bunny hits iPhone, BlackBerry - wirelessly
Qi gets branded products
The wireless power consortium, Qi, is celebrating the launch of a solution with a known brand - Energizer - attached, but the technology is still a long way from the mainstream.
The Energizer Inductive Charger will be available in the USA next month, along with a sleeve that fits round an iPhone 3GS to Qi-enable it, and a replacement battery for the BlackBerry Curve that does the same thing, thus making both devices compatible with the future of wireless charging.
Energizer isn't the first Qi-compatible charging mat - Power Mat has been selling them for a while - but it is the first from a recognised brand with enough presence to get the devices into Target stores. The company has also made an irritating video espousing the virtues of going wireless:
It has to be a comedy video, because there aren't many advantages to get excited about until the technology is built into devices. Nokia and RIM are both members of the Qi Consortium, so it could happen eventually, but special batteries and sleeves aren't going to have mass appeal no matter how comedic the accents. ®
Advantages vs. disadvantages
I can save the 10 seconds it takes to pick-up the charger plug and plug it into the socket on my phone.
It will cost more for no additional device functionality.
Inductive charging automatically means no "energy star"
My iPod automatically charges anyway when I put it in the dock on my HiFi.
The £0.50 USB cable I use to charge my phone at work will now be a £?? mat and always take up desk space*
The £0.50 car cable I use to charge my phone in the car will now be a £?? mat and the phone will slide off it on roundabouts*
* OK so I could still use a cable to charge at work and in the car, but if I use a cable then, what's the point?
Come back when it can charge anywhere in my house and I'll give you my money.
How are you supposed to use the phone whilst it is charging?
Hold the phone and the matt to you face?
I can see a product like this being useful in a kitchen environment, where you could place the electronic equipment on a work surface without the wires. But I cannot see one advantage to using it with mobile phones.
Neat concept - bad idea
Inductive charging is slow, uses more energy, and radiates heat and EMI radiation. It's nothing new. Years ago, they tried using inductive radiation on a stove top. It didn't catch on then either.