I’ve been fascinated by the idea of “wireless power” for awhile now. Shortly after the G1 was released, I attended a TED talk where Eric Giler walked the Android phone across the stage and demonstrated it charging without being plugged into anything. Fast forward to today, and while the WiTricity guys still aren’t ready, other types of “wireless power” has hit the market, ready to remove the need to use a power cord. As Android handset manufacturers begin to include these technologies into their handsets, will we begin to see the death of the power cord?
The Wireless Power Consortium, developers of the Qi Inductive Charging System, have been very busy putting their systems in as many places as possible. Working with Energizer to create low cost charging plates that works with all Qi systems, and partnering with companies like LG, HTC, and now Motorola to get their tech added to the next generation of handsets. If you’ll recall, we recently did a piece on Qi systems found in the LG Optimus 2x. We also know that HTC is planing to release a Qi battery cover for the Thunderbolt, and the leaked shots of the Pyramid have the same copper colored tabs underneath the battery cover. Inductive chargers aren’t new, or even unique, but the interoperability offered by Qi-friendly companies seem to have made it the more popular option.
It’s entirely possible that your next Android phone will be Qi enabled. Energizer’s inductive plates support multiple devices, and a single device plate is on the way to handle any kind of user. Right now, no phone comes with everything you need out of the box to enjoy these induction systems, and the costs varies based on manufacturer. The real question here is whether or not the cost and the convenience cancel each other out. After all, unlike Eric Giler’s WiTricity demonstration, the phone must still be set on the plate in order to charge, offering a very similar limitation to the power cord, even if you have multiple plates throughout the house. So, will Qi “Change the game”? Not just yet, in my opinion, maybe if and when it’s offered with the phone.