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.
The technology used in the Powermat’s charging systems is magnetic induction, which, since it doesn’t generate much heat, lends itself to a host of other uses. Where might you see Powermat down the road? In the airport, car, and kitchen for starters. The company has already inked a deal with Arconas — maker of airport seating — to include Powermat charging surfaces in a new line of seats. The seats will be rolling out in 150 airports worldwide and will also feature — for those of you who are currently inductively challenged — standard AC outlets. The company has also forged a partnership with U.S. based car manufacturer General Motors. The center console of the electric Chevy Volt will be Powermat capable (death to car chargers!) and GM has plans to expand the feature to additional model families.
The kitchen piece is really interesting. When we asked Scott Eisenstein, VP of Communications for Powermat, why his company was trying to maneuver its way into our kitchens the response sort of shocked us. “We’re woking with Haier to create Powermat enabled appliances. Picture taking your blender out of the cabinet, putting it down on the counter, and it just works… anywhere. You don’t need to be near an outlet.” The company has said it can make any typical counter surface (aside from metal) a giant Powermat. The company can do this from under the surface — even through granite — without making any cuts, slices, or holes in your kitchen-top. “Since it’s magnetic induction, the appliances are extremely water tolerant, making them safer,” continued Eisenstein. “We could even get to the point where a Powermat-enabled electric appliance is dishwasher safe.” It’s definitely a new and interesting direction for the company.
Beth Harrison Meyer, the company’s VP of Global Marketing, told us that PM is currently working with smartphone OEMs and we should see a device shipping from factories, Powermat ready, before the close of 2012. Meyer also noted that PM is working with notebook OEMs to get the technology integrated into laptop batteries for drop and go charging — again, direct from the factory.
Powermat has some really cool, and really functional charging technology; we definitely got way more than we bargained for after wandering into the Powermat booth. The company has over three million Powermat systems in-market and is growing globally. What do you think? Do you see wireless charging in your future?