Tech Smart: Revolutionary charge

March 21, 2012
Noah Levine
Issue 3

The need to keep all our tools and machines powered up is among the downsides to this extremely connected high-tech age in which we live. Sure, the fight for power outlet access is somewhat mitigated by the ever growing number of cordless, battery-powered devices, but all of them must eventually come in for a charge. To make matters worse, they all seem to have different charging cords with proprietary connectors. So while we are free to work and play unconnected and away from the wall, when it’s time to refuel, quite often a tangle of cords awaits us at the outlet.

The need to keep all our tools and machines powered up is among the downsides to this extremely connected high-tech age in which we live.

Sure, the fight for power outlet access is somewhat mitigated by the ever growing number of cordless, battery-powered devices, but all of them must eventually come in for a charge. To make matters worse, they all seem to have different charging cords with proprietary connectors. So while we are free to work and play unconnected and away from the wall, when it’s time to refuel, quite often a tangle of cords awaits us at the outlet.

But now this problem of inconvenience can be overcome with a wonderfully simple solution by the name of Powermat. With the ability to wirelessly charge a range of electronic devices including smartphones, MP3 players, cameras, and more, this slim mat is an excellent way to put an end to charging-related clutter and confusion.

Cutting the cord

Getting started with a Powermat is a relatively simple operation. The mat itself plugs into the wall and is then ready to charge any device equipped with a Powermat receiver. The receivers are slim and simply replace the stock battery cover on the back of most smartphones. For iPhone users such as myself who have a device that does not have an accessible battery, the receiver is built into a protective case.

Devices with a receiver are charged any time they are placed on the mat in about the same amount of time as it takes to charge them with their native cord. Magnetic attraction makes sure they stay correctly positioned for optimal power transfer, and the mat itself provides both a light and jaunty audio notification of the start and stop of charging action.

As a solution for devices that can not be equipped with a receiver, Powermat comes with a Powercube that draws power from the mat and connects to almost any device via a short cord and interchangeable connection tips that are stored right in the cube.

Organization station

So to say Powermat eliminates all the cords associated with charging wireless devices might be overstating things just a bit, but it does cut down on the number required to charge multiple devices.

The basic setup has room to charge three items simultaneously, and with a range of receivers and extra Powercubes available, just about any combination of gadgets can be charged. An almost unintentional bonus of the system is the way Powermat becomes device central. Small electronics are much more difficult to lose when they are always placed on or near the mat.

With the Powercube in the mix, it’s easy to make sure everything stays charged. Just one cord is needed, and with a quick tip change the device being charged can be swapped out for another.

Options on the horizon

Currently Powermat offers a regular and a travel version of its system, but a range of new wireless charging options will be hitting store shelves throughout the year.

The range of available battery and battery cover options will expand the number of Powermat-compatible phones throughout the year. Additionally, updated mats will be available this spring including smaller, lower-priced mats for use with just one or two devices and prepacked bundles that pair a mat with the receiver for a specific phone.

Before the end of the year, the travel mats will feature built-in batteries making wireless charging possible even when a power outlet is nowhere to be found, and a new Netbook Powercube will feature tips needed to charge the batteries of those mini-computers.

Powermat’s wireless charging systems make keeping devices properly juiced as simple as setting them in the right place.