While smart phones may offer their users a multitude of attractive features, they still have one big drawback: the battery life. Previously, it was common to recharge a standard cell phone once every two or three days. But with smart phones that constantly run several applications in the background and function more like small computers than “phones”, users now find that they need to charge their device every day or even several times a day if they use it heavily, such as when playing music or videos.
Then, they would need to find a charger and plug their phone in the wall. While this may seem simple enough, it is quite an inconvenience, especially for those who travel often and are always on the go.
Is the Powermat Wireless Charging System the Solution?
The Powermat, built in partnership with battery giant Duracell, is a device that is said to revolutionize the way we charge our phones and other mobile devices. Its design looks quite futuristic. A flat charging mat that sits on a desk, connected to the wall outlet. Devices are put in a special case that allows their battery to be charged wirelessly simply by placing them on the mat. Receivers are made for different devices made by Apple, BlackBerry and Nintendo.
Limitations and Potential Problems
There is one thing that the Powermat can be useful for: making charging easier by eliminating the clutter of different wires and also not having to search for your power adapter every time you want to charge your smart phone. But it doesn’t solve one of the main problems encountered by smart phone users: the need to find a power outlet to plug the mat in to. Also, devices need to be physically on the mat to be charged.
If you only have one device that needs to be charged and you have an outlet nearby at all times, then charging it shouldn’t be too big of a problem. Phone manufacturers have made their chargers a lot less bulky to make carrying them around a lot easier. There is also the fact that most of today’s mobile electronic devices such as MP3 players, smart phones, etc. can also be recharged simply by plugging them in to a computer via USB cable.
While most users who got the Powermat reported being satisfied with the way it functions, there were a few complaints made. First, there is the price of the device, at $99. Plus users need to buy receivers separately for each kind of device that they own.
Is There Ever Going to Be a True “Revolution” In Charging?
One thing that would certainly revolutionize the way we charge our smart phones is a device that lets us charge them without needing to be plugged into a wall, allowing charging on the go. Some experimental devices have appeared, some using small solar panels, while others use kinetic energy (similar to a self winding watch). But they are still some time away from entering mainstream production.
For now, the Powermat may be an interesting gadget for those who want to charge their smart phone just by laying it on a mat. But it doesn’t bring much of a revolution in charging.
Daniel Robertson has his bachelors in computer science and is part of the ninja team over at Gravity Jack augmented reality developers