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.
In my review of the HP TouchPad, which we published last night, I went off on a tangent about the “touch-to-share” functionality Hewlett-Packard introduced with the TouchPad tablet and the Pre 3 smartphone. I think it bears repeating. In a nutshell, touch-to-share allows the user to tap a webOS smartphone to the TouchPad in order to push any URL in an open browser page from one device to the other. I wrote at length about this feature, which is still in its infancy but exhibits tremendous potential. But the real value for touch-to-share goes far beyond the technology itself. The feature is great and HP can take it in a million different directions, but the bigger picture here is that touch-to-share can become an amazing way for HP to differentiate its tablet from the competition in a way that might actually pique consumers’ interest. Tech companies are so concerned with catching up right now that they forgot a very important piece of the puzzle: valuable differentiation. Flash, for example, is not a way for a company to differentiate its products — just ask the senior RIM executive who recently made a plea for RIM to step up its game. Companies are so concerned with pushing media tablets out to market that they’re forgetting to give consumers a reason to buy them over the market leader, the Apple iPad. If an Apple competitor ever wants to see real, long-term success with a tablet line, valuable differentiated features like a mature touch-to-share solution are paramount. With that, hit the break for my thoughts on the technology, as originally seen in our review of the HP TouchPad. 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!
LG on Tuesday announced a new inductive charging system at the CTIA Wireless 2011 show. Like the Powermat, LG’s Wireless Charging Pad is a flat mat that plugs into any standard power outlet. Compatible LG handsets can then be placed on top of the pad, and the device will charge them without the need to connect any wires. Other similar inductive charging solutions currently on the market require users to attach accessories or a special battery packs to their handsets in order to function. LG, however, will build inductive coils into the battery doors on its devices, thus affording cord-free charging without the need for any third-party accessories. LG’s first Wireless Charging Pad, the WCP-700, will launch next month for $69.99, though LG has not yet detailed which handsets will be compatible with the device. Hit the break for the full press release. More →
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.
Every so often an interesting story surfaces that has regrettably been passed over. One such story is the case of the Palm Touchstone, the wireless charging dock for the upcoming Palm Pre. During CTIA, tnkgrl was getting briefed on the Pre by a Palm marketing manager when he let it slip that the Touchstone is not just a wireless charger but is also the name of a whole series of products and accessories for the Pre. What makes this interesting is that the name Touchstone alone implies that the rest of the series in the Touchstone line-up will feature inductive technology. So what can we expect to see — a USB dock, TV-out dock, stereo speakers, car kits? Who knows, but for now we’re pretty satisfied with reverting to a childlike state of imagination.