By Todd Bernhard updated on 06/24/2013
Powermat brings inductive charging to the masses through clever cases with integrated batteries, magnets, and chargers so you can simply place the device on one of its numerous chargers. Magnets help align the device and a distinctive beep tells you it's charging. I have been reporting on and following the tech company with great interest since its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2009.
Back in 2009, Powermat had great technology but what it really needed was a way to bring the tech to the masses. So I was excited to see the company become a part of Duracell. Now, it can leverage the marketing muscle of the Coppertop people to bring Powermats everywhere. Indeed, there are a variety of locations offering Powermats built into their furniture or environment. Imagine simply setting your phone down at a nightclub or airport or even in a car and having it charge without worrying about cables.
Check out how it works here:
I have reviewed Powermat before, using older iPhones with the 30-pin connector, but Apple's Lightning connector forced Powermat and other vendors to adopt this new technology. I was finally able to test the latest Powermat solution for my iPhone 5.
The design and build of the newer cases reflect Duracell's branding, with copper accents throughout for a nice touch. There is a gap surrounding the Lightning connector that, at first glance, might look like a mistake. But the gap allows audio to redirect itself toward the user where it should be in the first place. Apple still hasn't solved the problem of the speakers pointing down and away from the user, but with the Powermat design, audio is redirected back to the user and sounds much louder. This is a nice bonus feature!
Powermat offers a modular system so you can use just the features you want: just the slim AccessCase ($49.99), add the curved SnapBattery ($59.99) pack, or place the whole thing on the TravelMat ($129.99), a charging "brick" with built-in battery.
While the battery pack does add significant bulk, you can disconnect it with a simple gesture, and use the slim Powermat case. One gotcha is to remember to turn the battery pack on or off as desired, or you can find the iPhone running out of power even though the battery pack is fully charged.
I am looking forward to seeing Duracell Powermat's throughout airports, restaurants, nightclubs, and more locations, which will make the cases even more valuable.