Wireless charging comes to iPhone

The ability to charge without wires is an idea that's been teasing us for a long time, with Palm the first company to take it mainstream

The WildCharge Adapter Skin for the iPhone

The WildCharge Adapter Skin for the iPhone

In less than three weeks, the iPhone has caught up with the Palm Pre in the one area where the Pre held an undisputed lead: wireless charging. The ability to charge without wires is an idea that's been teasing us for a long time, with Palm the first company (I am aware of) to take it mainstream. The feature will soon be available for iPhone users, too.

The iPhone solution, from WildCharge, requires placing the iPhone or iPod touch into a gel skin inductor that looks pretty much like any other form-fitting other case. It includes a small connector that plugs into the iPhone. Once installed, the user places the iPhone onto any WildCharge charger pad and the phone starts charging.

The charging skin and charger pad combination costs US$80, while the Palm Pre gets wireless charging as part of the original purchase price. One important difference: The WildCharge pad and skin are part of a system that works with other devices, such as the BlackBerry Curve and Pearl as well as the Motorola RAZR phone.

The iPod touch skin is available now, with the iPhone version available "in early July," WildCharge officials said.

The company also recently introduced a "universal" swing-arm adaptor that looks a tad clunky, but extends wire-free charging to an additional 150 devices. How many users have multiple phones and would benefit from such compatibility is questionable.

The Palm Pre "TouchStone" charger only works with that device.

Wireless charging is an idea that has been tossed around for years and, I seem to remember, has been introduced in several add-on products that failed to excite the market. The lack of a widely supported standard--so one charging pad can work with many devices--has kept the feature from going mainstream.

The ideal solution would charge not just phones but also laptops, netbooks, and all the other mobile devices a user owns. WildCharge says its technology is capable of these things, but has yet to find its way into products beyond add-ons for some handsets.

Is this the future of mobile phones? Is wireless charging a real feature that matters--or may someday--or just another semi-useless accessory? It's a feature many would appreciate, but becomes useful only if manufacturers adopt a common standard and implement it widely.

David Coursey would charge wirelessly if he could. (But, really doesn't expect to anytime soon). He tweets as techinciter and can be e-mailed from www.coursey.com/contact.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Palm PresmartphonesiPhonepower charger

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

David Coursey

PC World (US online)

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?