Death of the Dock: Wirelessly Charging Furniture Revealed

As the new trend of wirelessly charging furniture emerges at CES 2014, we examine what it could mean for the future or charging stations and phone docks.

Wireless Charging Dock image

When a new sector of technology rises and begins to do well, bringing with it, tons of room of improvements and innovation that could potentially see it thrive for a decade, the threat to its success isn’t from within. Instead, the threat on that gadget or service’s life cycle is external, with its competitors making an attempt to steal sales away. This could soon become clear in the case of charging docks that have been made so popular by plenty of consumers’ need to blast their music at the very loudest of decibels as a new challenger has arisen, in the form of hi-tech furniture.

Out of CES 2014, the arrival of wirelessly charging furniture almost seems like a natural progression – consumers have rested their appliances on arm chairs and tables and sofas for years, so why not make it worth their while? The Wireless Power Consortium (the WPC for short) are the ones in charge of this, as they’re the ones who take note of the ways in which we can wirelessly charge our gadgets and just how many of us are doing so. The Qi wireless charging standard (aka the basic foundation for much of our wirelessly charging enabled gadgetry), the WPC say, can be matched with furniture to charge your phone, where it would normally have to have a wire hanging from it. Not only this, but improvements to the Qi wireless charging standard could allow your phone to be further from the wireless charger, e.g you may only have one installed in the couch, but you cold rest your phone on a table on the other side of the room and still see the battery charge in quick time.

This is a threat to the dock creating masses for one very good reason, and that’s the sheer volume of devices that would already work with the Qi wireless charging standard. That means that while some docks may be platform specific (e.g only working with either Apple or Android devices and not both) any Qi enabled device(including those that are backwards compatible) could be charged by the fancy furnishing upgrade. It’s a blow to Apple’s reported plans too as the Cupertino, Calif. company are said to be working on a dock of their own and with an install base of 40 million devices using the Qi charging standard, they look to have some serious competition. However, until the tech development makes its way into all of our homes, the efficiency would likely have to be improved up from its current rate of 65%, in order to show clear benefits between charging devices with a wire and without one.

We’ll keep you posted once we know more.

Source: GigaOM

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