LG unveiled the LG Wireless Charging Pad at CTIA Wireless 2011 yesterday. The LG technology meets the specifications of the Wireless Power Consortium - something that Powermat - who have been gaining most of coverage related to wireless charging - currently do not meet. Add in to the mix the HP Touchstone (formerly Palm Touchstone), which again works on a different solution, and you have three companies all offering different wireless charging solutions that are incompatible!
Another barrier to wireless charging taking off is the availability of charging hot-spots. In order to charge my phone using wireless charging, I have to have access to a charging mat. As someone who travels a lot, I do not have a regular place where I charge my phone. In order to charge my phone using a wireless mat, I have to carry the mat around with me - not the most convenient item to carry around, especially when I compare the mat to the size of my phone charger.
Powermat are aiming to extend the reach of wireless charging, with GM introducing Powermat to a range of cars. GM, which has a $5 million stake in Powermat, will be introducing the technology into the Chevy Volt, and once employed on more vehicles will be an attractive option for drivers (GM is also likely looking to Powermat to work with them to develop wireless charging for electric vehicles, but that?s a story for a later time).
Powermat are also building charging 'mats' into office furniture and seating at airports. Accessibility is key to the success of wireless charging. If I knew that for every hotel I checked into, there would be a wireless charging hot-spot available in my room, this would make wireless charging a lot more convenient.
One of the advantages that LG and HP have is that the inductive coils are built into the battery door, so not adding any extra size to the device. This should make the devices more attractive - recent research from Strategy Analytics has found that device size is one of the top five considerations for consumers when purchasing a new phone.
In order for wireless charging to become mainstream, there needs to be a common standard, a wide roll-out of 'wireless charging hot-spots', and to ensure that device size/form factor is not compromised.
- Paul Brown