I just read this Reuters article about the “desk of the future” in which the designer (Herman Miller) is incorporating wireless power technology from eCoupled (a competitor to WildTangent, who I saw at CES last week – more on eCoupled at Engadget). I love the concept of wireless chargers, and I love the concept of building them into existing products such as furniture and cars (the Reuters article discusses both).
What I don’t like is this part…
But no mobile devices will have eCoupled built in by that time, so Visteon customers will have to purchase an adapter from Mobility Electronics Inc., said Walter Thornton of Mobility Electronics.
Available this summer, the adapter will be able to work with Motorola phones, Apple Computer Inc.’s iPod Shuffle and other gadgets, Thornton said.
This is actually the same flaw I have with the WildTangent system – it puts too much burden on the consumer and requires too much of a behavioral change. This whole system is designed to make charging devices more convenient, not less. Here’s a quick analysis on the process after and before (intentionally in that order).
After (in other words, you bought the desk)
1. Remove cell phone from pocket (it’s not on your belt, is it? c’mon)
2. Look around cluttered desk for special charging adapter
3. Insert phone into adapter
4. Leave phone on desk until charged
5. Remove phone from adapter
6. Place adapter somewhere “you’ll remember later” (causing at least 10 minutes of searching next time you want to find it, since you inevitably place it in that one drawer you never open)
Before (in other words, today, without the desk)
1. Remove cell phone from pocket
2. Connect to charger which you have at your desk already
3. Leave phone on desk until charged
4. Remove phone from charger
In my opinion, this is a clear case of technology being released to consumers way too soon. This fits none of the bill of: faster, better, cheaper. Maybe next year this’ll actually get easy, but only once the following has come true…
Phonemakers will embed eCoupled soon after Visteon releases its product, Hazlett said.
However, Motorola would not comment and Lynch refuses to get really excited until Motorola is on board.
“I’m hoping that they do get the (device) manufacturers to buy into this so that it doesn’t fizzle out,” Lynch added.
Update: thoughts from Engadget and CrunchGear.