Best of Show CES 2011: Powermat

Mobile batteries always seem to die at the worst times. Wouldn’t it be nice if your phone would just charge automatically every time you weren’t using it? Powermat is doing its best to make the dream of wireless charging a reality. While the Powermat products at CES 2011 were certainly impressive, its the proliferation of Powermat’s platform that got us really excited.

There are two parts essential to making the system work. Mobile devices need to be outfitted with backs or cases that receive energy wirelessly, charging the devices’ batteries. The mobile devices must be placed on a mat that’s hooked up to a power source.

At CES 2011, Powermat showed how its technology will look in cars. Simply throwing your smartphone into a cup holder or center console will charge it, eliminating the need to fumble with tips and cords at 65MPH. GM invested $5 millon in the company and is planning on offering Powermat in the Chevy Volt by 2012.

Teknion has a line of office furniture accessories that has Powermat technology built in, which means phones can charge on the base of a lamp, a shelf or the desk its self.

PowerMat is teaming up with Arconas to provide wireless charging stations at more than 130 airports around the world. Hunting down a power outlet at an airport can be a painful (and costly) proposition, especially if you’re in a foreign country and don’t have the proper adapters handy.

Powermat’s power! Dual 1850 is an external battery pack that can charge on any Powermat surface. It features a retractable iPhone tip and Micro USB tip to charge your mobile devices in a pinch. The power! Dual 1850 can also be recharged via any USB port when a Powermat isn’t available.

Powermat is working on something more than charging mobile phones. The company is partnering with a top-tier manufacturer (Powermat reps wouldn’t disclose which one) to build Powermat compatible notebooks.  From the looks of it, the Powermat receiver will be built into the bottom of notebook batteries.

When we first saw Powermat at CES 2009 the company’s first products weren’t even ready to ship. Fast forward a couple of years and we’re starting to see Powermat live up to its potential. Charging batteries wirelessly might not be the sexiest business, but it can solve a real consumer problem. For its current and soon to be released products, Powermat earned’s Best of Show Award at CES 2011.

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