Charging Devices Get Smarter

By John Laposky On Jan 30 2012 - 6:01am




LAS VEGAS — New aftermarket charging products made a significant splash at International CES, as consumers with multiple high-draw devices seek an alternative to carrying multiple chargers with them everywhere.

Kanex unveiled its Sydnee, a four-USB-port docking station that delivers 2.1 amps of power per port, strong enough to charge multiple smartphones and tablets simultaneously. It includes a built-in cable-management system and will become available at the end of Q1 at a suggested retail of $149, in black or white.

LaunchPort launched a wireless magnetic charging system for the iPad that can double as a mounting system.

The LaunchPort starts with the PowerShuttle, a sleeve-style, soft-touch black case that securely holds the iPad 2 and is used to mount to either the BaseStation and/or WallStation. Wireless induction charging begins as soon as a PowerShuttle is mounted to a station.Magnets are used to mount and affix the iPad in its PowerShuttle to the Station.

The tabletop brushed-aluminum Base- Station only uses some of the neodymium magnets in the LaunchPort system, making it easier to grab and go, the company said. The 360-degree rotating WallStation uses all magnets in the system for secure and safe mounting. The magnets are located on the PowerShuttle case allowing it to be mounted to any metallic surface.

The PowerShuttle has a built-in proprietary Wave Guide that acoustically concentrates and directs iPad speaker audio sound back at the user. It’s also equipped with a MiniUSB port for charging with an Apple power adapter and syncing to a PC.

The PowerShuttle retails for $149, the BaseStation and the WallStation for $199 each.

A relatively new player in the charging game is industry veteran Oregon Scientific. Its new Time and Wireless Charging Station+ is the company’s second wireless charging station for iPhone using the Qi wireless standard. It is a single charging pad that includes a monochrome LCD that displays time, indoor temperature and outdoor temperature (with included mountable sensor.) It adds a radio-controlled clock, a barometer for weather forecast, plus a ceiling projector for the time and temperature.

It requires a Qi iPhone sleeve, sold separately. The Station+ is expected in the second quarter at an approximate suggested retail of $129.

Wireless charging pioneer Fulton Innovation showed a variety of prototype wireless charging solutions using its eCoupled wireless technology.

The demos included new developments in the spatial limits of traditional wireless charging — for example, a device being moved around on and above a surface while maintaining a continuous charge, the ability to wirelessly charge through a metal surface, and the charging of a smartphone wirelessly while it is stored in a handbag.

Other demonstrations included devices charging within the general area of a wireless transmitter and an advanced wireless power solution that can be built into almost any surface, including packaging and publications.

Fulton exhibited a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly magazine powered by eCoupled technology. The magazine lit up on a shelf using wirelessly powered printed electronics – a lowpowered, low-cost, flexible example of wireless power in action, the company said. The prototype demonstrated how wireless power can be used by publishers and advertisers to attract readers’ attention, and drive new revenue streams.

Fulton’s booth also included the cockpit of a car that has its interior surfaces enabled for wireless power.

Energizer rolled out its first full line of Qi-standard inductive charging devices, including a dual-zone model.

Looking ahead, a walk through the Wireless Power Consortium’s (WPC) meeting space at the show revealed a raft of prototypes for wireless charging built into practically any flat surface available, including nightstand tabletops, desk drawers, car consoles and car door pockets.

In addition to the 75 individual devices on display with inductive charging built-in on an OEM basis, WPC execs cited the potential for wireless charging to be built into surfaces in public places, such as airports, train stations and libraries, something that has been gaining momentum in Japan.

The WPC also cited Motorola’s endorsement of the Qi standard as a significant development on the device OEM side of the business.

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