There are two really good ways that wireless smartphone charging could move from being a novelty to something that’s immediately recognizable as useful. One would be really long-range charging, over distances of several feet, if not farther. There are some substantial technical limitations preventing us from seeing that at the moment, but who knows; maybe we’ll get there in another ten years.
The other, and so much more accessible way that wireless charging could make a big impact, is through the installation of ubiquitous charging spots. That would mean no longer having the need to carry around a charger to make sure your phone stays topped-up, since you would come across so many charging stations throughout your day, ready for you to plop down your handset and refresh its battery. This one’s just starting to become a reality, with merchants like The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf leading the way.
Nokia partnered with The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf last year to start installing Qi-compatible charging stations in its coffee shops, and the first are now beginning to appear. Using a standard like Qi makes this a cross-device, cross-platform solution just perfect for public spaces like this.
The one pictured above is in Las Vegas, perfect for CES crowds, but you’ll be seeing the same thing at more The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf locations across the US in the coming months. Get a few more companies interested in doing the same, and wireless charging start becoming a whole lot more useful.