One of my favorite features of the Palm Pre is the Touchstone that wirelessly charges the phone. Powermat joined this wireless charging revolution with some basic products last year, but is poised to do far more in 2010. At the Digital Experience mini-show, I spent time looking at where the company is heading.
The original Powermat only supported the charging of a few devices like the Apple iPod and iPhone and a few BlackBerry handsets. New this year is support for many more devices thanks to custom sleeves. But Powermat is also starting to manufacture device batteries with standard-looking covers. For example, I saw a Samsung phone that looked “stock” from Samsung. However, the back battery cover and the battery was made by Powermat, even though you couldn’t tell. So it looks like the same phone that would have a standard Samsung battery, but it can be charged through a Powermat. Very slick and a smart business move. The company is working with OEMs to offer such a solution out of the box.
The newest Powermat models look far sleeker and industrial than the originals. And there are more options. What used to be one single mat to charge up to three devices is now available in models for one, two or three devices. Powermat figures that customers might want several variations around the house, so they can simply drop their devices on the mats as they move around. And the three-device charger ($99) can now be folded up for better portability.
Most impressive to me was the new Powermat option that can actually charge a netbook. Although it requires a wired brick on the mat (see above), it looks far easier than struggling under a desk to find an outlet to plug in. Powermat expects this to work with all of the “major netbook brands.”