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back to article SEVENTY-FIVE wirelessly charged devices will demo at CES

Seventy-five new devices featuring wireless charging will be demonstrated over the next week, with Motorola joining the effort to push the technology over the tipping point. The demonstrations will take place at the Consumer Electronics Show, about to kick off in Las Vegas, and most of the products will be the usual battery …

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Silver badge
Meh

Wake me when its stackable

The problem is that it just isnt a solution right now.

Like a lot of families we have a pile of electronics that live in the lounge or the bedroom - depending on the time of day. Quite often these end up piled on top of each other when they are not being used.

Ideally I should be able to put my laptop on the charger, then my ipad on the laptop and my iphone on the ipad - and they all charge from the same source.

Then wireless charging would have a unique USP.

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Trollface

Just how I like them

Unique USPs are my favourite kind, non unique ones are no better than boring old SPs in my book.

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Thumb Up

HP Touchstone

I was wary of the benefits of wireless charging, but since I have an HP touchpad with a touchstone stand, I've enjoyed the absence of cables. With data flowing wirelessly, doing the same for charging was only a logical step.

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Efficiency?

In this "green" world we are supposed to live in, how does the power consumption on these things compare with just plugging a cable in? I assume there is some wastage here?

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A fair bit I suspect

Bet it'll be a big hit with the "electromagnetic hypersensitivity" tinfoilers, tho. I swear, if I'd known at the age of, say, ten, that all it'd take to have a lifetime sinecure was to invent my own undiagnosable, untreatable "syndrome"...

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Silver badge
Flame

Stupid

Marketing gimmicks.

The chargers still have a wire.

This is stupider than so called "cordless kettles", which are only a misnomer as they are underneath docking stations rather than sideways kettle plug.

A charging dock (around since 1980s for handheld radios) is more sensible.

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Palm did it then HP killed it

I've had a Palm Pre, Pre2, Pre3 and TouchPad all with wireless charging built in. TFA saying, "it solves a problem which really doesn't exist" doesn't fly with me. It solves one of the most troublesome problems known to mankind: plugging in a microUSB charger in the dark

Having used it for a few years it was one of those features you very quickly learned to take for granted and miss it like b*ggery when you don't have it (I'm now using a Galaxy Nexus). Gone are the days of getting in to bed and just laying my phone on a charger. Now it's bend down, find the wire and curse (quietly so as not to wake the little un) as you try and get the thing into the effing device.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

"plugging in a microUSB charger in the dark"

Why, oh why, couldn't they have made the plug reversible?!

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Because it'd cost twice as much

The trick to plugging things in in the dark is to use your sense of proprioception to your advantage; your body knows where it is in relation to itself, so if your left index fingertip is on the socket and your right index fingertip is on the connector, it should all be pretty simple from there -- assuming you don't cheap out on cables, you should be able to identify the top side of the connector by finding the USB logo or other tactile-identifiable device. If your cable isn't made like that, find another cable; all of mine are, and I got them at a charity shop for $2 each. Or, you know, just flip it over and try again.

Or, failing that, get a tritium kit tag, which is a little plastic bead with a tiny phosphor-coated vial of tritium sealed inside, and tie it to the plug end of the cable. In a bright room or in sunlight, you can't see it at all, but in pitch-black conditions the light it puts out should be just enough to show you what you're doing while still quite dim enough not to keep anyone awake, and it should last for at least a decade without needing any attention at all.

(Because some smartass will certainly bring it up -- yes, tritium is a beta emitter; on the other hand, I've had one of these kit tags in my keyring pocket every day for five years and my balls haven't fallen off yet, so putting one on a cable-end which you touch for ten seconds a day and otherwise don't come all that close to probably isn't going to kill you with cancer, especially if you do something dangerous every day like driving or going out in sunlight. Take your own risk, or if it's too scary just do something else instead.)

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Proprioception (thanks for the new word!) is all well and good but there's inevitably the moment where you're mm away from slipping the little connector into the device, the hole guiding finger moves and the whole world goes to b*ggery. Had I never experienced inductive charging I wouldn't get so irrelevantly annoyed.

It's simply a lot easier (drunk or sober) to just lay your device down and it start charging. So much so I ended up with 7 Touchstone chargers (5 phone and 2 Touchpad ones) scattered around the home and work. I was happy to pay for the convenience once I'd tried just one of them. It's something webOS users of old will, as I'm clearly demonstrating, bang on and on and on about at great length.

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Go

fixing a problem that does not exist...

whilst its true compatibility is sorted with microUSB chargers (my blackberry charges my android whcih also charges my camera etc) at the moment, every manufacturer still supplies a charger with every device. However if (nearly) all devices came with the wireless charging, then manufacturers could maybe supply two versions - one with charger or one without, or maybe sell them all without, and allow the user to phone in for a free one if they need it. In the meantime the problem that gets fixed is less chargers being made and sold which saves resources, means smaller/lighter packaging (although admittedly not sure who apple could make packing smaller on their iphones and ipods), which means less cost of delivery and storage, all of which should mean slightly cheaper gadgets and widgets... little things take little steps, but if we save making a few hundred million chargers then that's got to be a good thing?

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Silver badge

They could do that with USB chargers if they wanted to.

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Bronze badge

Some already do, at least for the cheaper devices where cost is more noticeable.

I've bought two devices recently, both rechargeable, both via USB, and both only came with a USB lead, no adaptor. Thus requiring a PC to plug into, or an existing USB adaptor, of which I have a few now.

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@KrisM

This would be like when we switched to microUSB, manufacturers would no longer need to ship chargers which meant less cost, smaller packaging, etc. They never did deliver on that one either.

What will happen is that manufacturers will now start to ship 2 chargers. One wireless and one wired. And increase the price a load to compensate.

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JDX
Gold badge

One less hole in your device is one less point of failure due to dirt or water getting in, IMHO.

It's only a minor benefit but still in an idea world it would be nice... apart from the fact that a wired charger lets you plug the charger in behind the sofa, with wireless you need the plate somewhere in easy reach.

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MJI
Silver badge

A few things

Efficiency - how efficient compared to a wire?

Still need to turn on and off the charger - who would be so silly as to leave a charge plugged in and turned on but not charging? So not much more work to plug into the device.

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JDX
Gold badge

Turning on/off...

Um, you could just put a switch on the plate itself.

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Holmes

Toothbush style?

Electric toothbrushes have been doing contactless charging for years - bathrooms are damp places that corrode contacts and all other exposed bits of metal, so being able to seal the toothbrush was a no-brainer.

Wonder how long before the fruity lot try to claim the iCharge was their idea?

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JDX
Gold badge

Maybe they could fit a similar hole in a phone so you can charge it on the toothbrush charger :)

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FAIL

seems completely pointless

These things just seem completely pointless to me. Most of the objects that need to be charged all have to have the power puck + some cord to attach to said device or some other adapter at a non-trivial cost. Yes I know this is the first gen issue to try to get around the chicken/egg situation but it just makes the solution look silly.

Also, for the manufacturer/vendor it means that you have to build a receiver into EVERY DEVICE, and that must cost much more than a micro-USB jack. Pretty hard to justify when they're interested in pinching pennies over many million devices. You might posit that a major phone vendor would implement their own version of this as a way to break the chicken/egg situation, but the product cost will still be the deal-breaker.

Also for the consumer, rather than own one or two chargers you're paying time and time again to re-buy this on each device you want to use.

I know "powermat" et al would want you to believe otherwise, but I reckon this one will always be a non-starter.

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Holmes

Micro USB is supposed to be rated for more insertions than mini USB, but I keep coming across people whose charger socket has broken. For something that's got to be charged every night, they're pretty fragile.

The phone manufacturers are also starting to produce more weatherproof phones - there have been a few over the last few years but there are more on the market now than ever before - even smartphones are getting there. A £400 quid phone is just too much to lose to a rainy day or an accidental fall, and covering the charging socket with a rubber bung just doesn't cut it.

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Anonymous Coward

Tesla

If Tesla had managed to electrify the world with free radiant energy you wouldn't be worrying about plugging anything in and nor would you be constantly charging batteries. He had already imagined using wireless communication devices and various modes of transport with not a battery in sight about a century ago. Wireless power is a lot older than most of you imagine.

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