Intel bringing wireless charging to a laptop near you
webOS users have long enjoyed the beauty of wireless charging. Since the introduction of the Touchstone with the release of the original Pre some three years ago we have enjoyed a wire-free charging experience from our devices. It's a wonderful experience that makes one's life a less painful ordeal than constantly fiddling with a mess of cords. Not to mention it gave us the ability to have a different type of relationship with our devices. This relationship was enhanced ten-fold with the introduction of Exhibition mode in webOS 2.1.
Despite being well-received, wireless charging never took off outside the realm of webOS products (unlike many of the other features current phones "borrowed" from webOS). Many have tried, but the idea never seemed to catch on. Perhaps the most popular effort thus far has been Energizer and Powermat's attempt with their charging pads. Unfortunately these products require the user to install a compatible battery cover that usually makes the device less elegant than initially intended. There is also the aspect of end cost which ended up being the reason that Sharp and NTT Docomo's attempt at the wireless game via the Qi standard hasn't been a success.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle wireless charging has is the fact that so far it usually requires some type of dock like the Touchstone. Even then X device only works with X charger. So not only do you still have to dock your phone somewhere but there has yet to be a platform agnostic standard.
Those days may be over, as Intel will be offering a chip to be put into Intel-powered devices (a good majority of traditional computers and soon to be many tablets) that will transmit power over the air to Intel-powered smartphones. The device will not have to be put in any kind of orientation to charge it will simply start charging so long as it is within range of the device that is transmitting power.
This brings forth a lot of possibilities. Intel could have a serious winner on their hands if they not only place this chip into Intel-powered laptops, but they also could offer stand-alone dock chargers like the Touchstone, but with a little more variety and less finicky magnets to worry about. Though there is the problem of Intel-powered smartphones - it's not like there are a lot of x86-powered phones out there, and ARM chips have a massive lead in the smartphone space right now.
So this could either be a revolutionary step forward or just another floundering attempt to cash in on a cool idea. While part of us hopes this ins't a flop, there's also a part of us that's not really thrilled about yet another competing standard in the wireless charging market. Especially one that's inextricably tied to computers and smartphones containing specific chips. But with companies like Intel jumping in on the game, it's clear that the age of wirelss charging is upon us - yet again Palm may have been ahead of the game by a good bit.