Chrysler’s Mopar division plans to become the first car manufacturer to eliminate power cords from cars. The company on Monday announced its new in-vehicle wireless charging technology, which will be available in the 2013 Dodge Dart. “At Mopar, we look for every single opportunity to make our customers’ lives easier,”said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. Our industry-first in-vehicle wireless charging system is the perfect solution for those connected customers who are always on the go.” The wireless charging system is installed just below the center stack and in front of the center console. The unit features a built-in charging grid that is activated when a user places their iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, or compatible MP3 player on it, and will begin to charge when the vehicle is started. As with other wireless charging options, a separate phone case will be required. The in-vehicle wireless charging system will be available for $199.99 plus installation, and the 2013 Dodge Dart is scheduled to be available in the second quarter of 2012. Read on for Chrysler’s press release. More →
Apple’s third-generation iPad tablet has been well-received by the masses. Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, and Apple announced last week that it sold more than 3 million new iPads during the slate’s debut weekend. While a small percentage of users reported real problems with their new iPads, a far greater amount of noise has been made over inconsequential issues such as the iPad feeling warm to the touch or continuing to charge after the battery indicator reaches 100%. Apple already responded to the flurry of minor heat-related complaints, and now the company has issued a statement regarding possible charging issues. More →
Adding on to the paper’s earlier report suggesting a redesigned Apple iPhone 5 is about to enter production, The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday added preliminary details surrounding the iPhone 6. The device, which is said to be launching some time in 2012, will feature a “new way of charging the phone,” the report claims, though further details were not provided. It is possible that Apple is looking into a charging solution similar to the Touchstone technology found in HP’s mobile devices, though this would hardly be “new.” Additionally, the report claims Apple is indeed working on a smaller, cheaper iPhone model with an edge-to-edge display, though no new details were added to older rumors in the same vein. The Journal’s earlier report suggested Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone handset is currently being shopped among manufacturers in China. The report also counters earlier reports in claiming the device will be thinner and lighter than the iPhone 4. BGR reported last month that the iPhone 5 would feature a brand new case design, lending additional support to earlier claims that the phone might feature a new slim, tapered case.
What if you could charge your phone by simply tapping on the touchscreen display — never having to worry about plugging it in — or add more juice to your laptop every time you typed? New developments in piezoelectric technology at the RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia have brought those dreams closer to a reality. Researchers there have been able to create a new thin piezoelectric film that is capable of turning those taps, or “mechanical pressure,” into electricity. “The power of piezoelectrics could be integrated into running shoes to charge mobile phones, enable laptops to be powered through typing or even used to convert blood pressure into a power source for pacemakers – essentially creating an everlasting battery,” lead co-author, Dr. Madhu Bhaskaran, said in the report, which was published in the July issue of Advanced Functional Materials. The technology isn’t quite there yet; Bhaskaran said that the next step will be using the piezoelectric materials to generate enough electricity to actually power our devices, and then building them into “low-cost, compact, structures.” We’re dreaming up super thin devices with minuscule batteries that are always on, but the report didn’t suggest how long it will take for that fiction to become fact. More →
An MSNBC investigative report, and related lawsuit, claims that AT&T has “systematically overstated” the data usage of iPhone and iPad customers. Lawyers for the plaintiffs, seeking class action status, hired an independent computer firm to compare the actual amount data used by iPhone and iPad customers with the amount that AT&T bills users for. “Did you find overcharges on every single transaction,” asked MSNBC’s Lisa Myers, speaking with the investigating firm’s representative. “Yes, every single one,” he responded. “Did you ever find an instance where the discrepancy worked to the benefit of the customer,” poses Myers as a follow-up question. “Never,” quipped the representative. “Always an overcharge; never an undercharge.” The study alleges that AT&T overstates customer data usage by 7% to 14% and, in some rarer cases, by up to 300%. To illustrate its point, the firm bought a new AT&T iPhone and line of service, “disabled everything that might trigger data usage,” and let the phone sit untouched for ten days. During that time period, thirty-five different data charges appeared on the virgin phone’s bill. AT&T responded to the report saying that the claims are “without merit” and that applications may auto-update or refresh in the background without a consumer’s knowledge or consent. Whatever the reasoning is for the purported up-charging, we’re sure this isn’t the last you’re going to hear about this one. A video clip of MSNBC’s report is waiting for you after the break.
UPDATE: An official statement from an AT&T spokesperson is after the break. More →
We met up with LG on Tuesday to check out its inductive Wireless Charging Pad, which it hopes will compete against competitors like Powermat. During our hands-on, we weren’t able to test the device — it seems someone forgot to charge the charger — but we were able to get a feel for its size, weight and some of its features. The Wireless Charging Pad has a power indicator that alerts you just how much power is left, and LG says it takes about two hours to charge itself up fully. All you have to do once it’s juiced up is pop a special back onto your smartphone and drop it onto the charging pad. In our eyes, the Wireless Charging Pad wasn’t a whole lot different than the Powermat; it’s light in the hand and can easily be packed in a briefcase, backpack or even a Florida tourist-friendly oversized fanny pack. LG hasn’t said which of its phones the Wireless Charging Pad will be compatible with just yet, but we think it’s a little counter intuitive for LG to make it only compatible with LG phones. Don’t forget to check out our photo gallery below!
Some of you may be familiar with the mobile accessory company Powermat. The New York City based accessory manufacturer creates a line of cell phone battery covers and battery packs that aim to simplify and add greater convenience to your mobile life. We stopped by the company’s booth at Mobile World Congress and got a glimpse at where the company is now, where they hope to be, and what’s next. Spoiler: if Powermat has its way, you’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more about them in the future.
Powermat first came to market around 16 months ago with an innovative, but bulky, line of cases for the iPhone, the iPod touch, the Nintendo DS, and a handful of BlackBerrys. With the case attached to your mobile device, you can place the handset on Powermat’s power mat charging-base and enjoy a cordless charge. Pick up the device, it stops charging. Put it down, it starts charging again. Fast forward to today: the cases have slimmed down, the mat has been sexified, new mobile power accessories have been announced, and the company is looking to expand its position in the smartphone market place and take its proprietary technology beyond the mat. Hit the jump to read about how Powermat wants to keep you powered on, sans cord. More →
According to blog TechRadar, mobile accessory maker Powermat will be working with phone manufacturers to incorporate their wireless charging technology into mobile devices. Currently, the company makes special cases and battery doors for a handful of small electronics to provide wireless charging via its Powermat base station. “We are looking into putting the technology into phones but it is a complex process,” said a Powermat spokesperson. The same spokesperson also went on to say we should start seeing phones with Powermat technology sometime in 2011.
Native, OEM supported wireless charging — which the Palm Touchstone already provides — does add a certain amount of convenience to digital life. It will be interesting to see exactly which manufacturers jump on the Powermat bandwagon. More →
If there is one thing that definitely needs catching up in the gadget industry, it’s battery technology and charging options. Powermat showed us where the future is headed in terms of battery capabilities and new ways to charge them. You’re all probably familiar with how Powermat works: you slip on Powermat’s case onto your iPhone or BlackBerry, or attach the corresponding plug to your device of choice, and place it on the mat for wireless charging. The real issue with current models is that the receivers can be a little gaudy for some of you with Powermat’s bulky cases. In June 2010, however, that’s all going to change. Hit the break for the official press release and more, and some pics of the new Powermat offerings in our gallery!
In the immortal words of Johnny 5… “Does not compute.” Back when WildCharge first came out on the scene, the ambitious company definitely made some waves. Yes, its charging pad accessory looked a bit odd, but cell phone manufacturers were sure to jump on board and crank out some WildCharge-ready handsets because the product was just so damn cool! Right? Right? Not so much. Here we are several years later and the company has yet to produce the breakthrough wireless charging solution we were all hoping for. This latest effort, the WildCharge PowerDisc, is probably the most inexplicable solution yet. It involves carrying around a small disc on a loop along with a connector cable that joins the disc with your portable device. You then place the disc on the WildCharge pad and viola! You’re charging. In other words, they’ve taken one part — a charger — and replaced it with four parts: the PowerDisc, the connector cable, the charging pad and the adapter that connects the pad to a wall outlet. Riiiiiight. The bottom line it that people just don’t want it. They don’t want the strange eye sore that is a WildCharge skin, they don’t want a hideous WildCharge universal adapter and, if we were betting folks, we would wager that people don’t want a wired wireless charger either. It really is a shame — if OEMs had jumped on board we could have had cool wireless charging products like the Touchstone a long, long time ago. Instead, we have a PowerDisc.
Woh there George Jetson… Did you take your flying car to a remote studio on Mars to record this interview? WiTricity Corp. CEO Eric Giler sat down with the BBC for a (very) quick chat about the future of power. His vision of the future is pretty intense — where you park your electric car above a mat in your garage that powers it up while you go inside and munch on some Soylent Green wafers. We need immediate gratification however, so we’re much more interested in his cell phone charging solution for the time being. Within 12-18 months, Giler suggests that consumers will be able to purchase an accessory that will enable wireless handset charging. We’re talking truly wireless, contact-less charging here; none of this Wildcharge/Touchstone nonsense. Unfortunately, Giler danced around the all-important ‘cost to the consumer’ issue a bit, but he did seem to imply that it would be a while before WiTricity technology is affordable. Early adopters who are willing to pay a premium however, could be able to open those wallets nice and wide for some WiTricity sexiness before 2010 is through. Hit the jump for the BBC’s interview.
Yes. Performance Designed Products has just unveiled the Wii accessory every Wii user has been waiting for — even if he or she didn’t know it. That’s right people, say hello to the Energizer Induction Charging System for Wii. PDP’s Energizer-branded line of accessories packs a few gems but none as sweet as this new Wiimote charging dock, which makes use of wireless induction charging technology to facilitate contact-free charging of Wiimotes. Badass. Users won’t even have to remove the protective sleeves or wrist straps from their Wiimotes; just plop that sucker on the charging dock and let induction do its thing. The dock can also be laid flat so Wii MotionPlus users won’t even have to disconnect the adapters to juice up their controllers. Fantastic. The Energizer Induction Charging System for Wii is slated to hit stores next month for $49.99 — a bargain at twice the price.