Duracell Powermat WiCC takes inductive charging to the next level


Inductive charging is one of the fruits of this day and age, but it hasn't exactly taken off like you'd expect. You'll find it in the odd product (namely WebOS devices) and DIYed into some others, but it isn't like if you can just walk down into a café and place your phone on the table to charge it. 

Duracell might be changing that. The company entered into a partnership with Powermat last year, and is going to release a range of products this spring. It will be your traditional third party inductive charging system, relying on cases and battery doors to add inductive charging to existing devices. That in itself has potential, but the new WiCC system showed off at MWC simply has me on the brink of tears from the fact that it's a prototype and not "coming soon". 

The WiCC chip essentially looks like a very flat, large memory card (like those old SmartMedia cards that were used in digital cameras until the 128MB storage limit made them outdated) that is designed to fit between the battery and the casing of a device. While a DIY version using the Galaxy S II was showed off at MWC, this requires three pairs of connections to the phone (which normally have to be put in from the factory) to be used with all features enabled. The main feature is inductive (wireless) charging, as this card is a receiver unit for the Powermat system. It also has NFC functionality, as well as a data connection that is used to allow an app to monitor charging. 

Technically, this could be implemented in existing phones by making new batteries, though perhaps not with the secondary features. Having NFC seems a bit pointless since any phone new enough to be WiCC enabled is likely to have NFC already. I'm not sure how many phones we'll see with this built in though, I have a feeling that if it actually takes off, manufacturers will make their own proprietary systems instead. 

Either way, this is the first products I've seen from MWC that actually has me excited. Heck,I'll likely jump on the normal Powermat system once it ships, assuming that there's a Galaxy S II battery door replacement that enables wireless charging.

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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