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CES: Charge! Induction chargers light up show

January 6, 2009 | 10:56 pm
Powermat induction charger

LAS VEGAS -- Induction chargers are nothing new. Electric toothbrushes have used the technology for years. Until recently, however, the method was too slow to work on power-hungry cellphones, cameras and laptops.

The latest crop of induction chargers have finally caught up to the traditional plug-in-the-wall method. One example is Powermat, which showed off its product at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas tonight.

What makes wireless induction chargers so alluring is that they free absent-minded geeks from having to keep track of their chargers and periodically having to untangle the rat's nest created by these blasted cords. Powermat showed off how its chargers can juice up iPods, hand-held game consoles, cellphones and laptops all at once. The company's president, Ron Ferber, promised to wirelessly charge a wall-mounted flat-screen television at the company's CES booth later this week.

Of course, the mat itself needs to be plugged into the wall, so it's not completely wireless. But it does cut down the number of wires required to charge devices.

Ferber estimated that the Powermats will hit stores this fall. The mats will come in five versions: family mat for charging up to six gadgets, a smaller fold-up mat for travel, PC mat for charging laptops, desk mat that comes with a wireless speaker and a bedside mat with a rechargeable clock.

Each mat will cost around $100. But that's not all. You'll also have to buy receivers -- doodads that connect your devices to the mats and conduct the charge. Those will set you back around $30 a pop. So waving goodbye to wired chargers also might mean parting with a good chunk of change.

-- Alex Pham

Photo credit: Powermat

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