Is it a bird? It is a plane? Is it a skateboard without wheels? No it’s a Powermat. The Powermat is an inductive charging mat which is capable of charging mutliple mobile phones at once. It’s perhaps best thought of as a widescreen version of the Palm Pre‘s Touchstone charger, as it uses similar technology. After attaching a receiver to your mobile phone, you simply sit it on the Powermat to charge it up. You can charge up to three devices at once this way, and connect a fourth device to the side of the Powermat via USB.
Charging on a Powermat is apparently just as effective as if you were charging directly from the mains and it doesn’t eat up as much energy, even with three phones sat on top and another charging over USB. The Powermat can also be used to charge other handhelds, so you can have your phone grilling away next to your iPod Touch and Nintendo DS.
There are two versions of the Powermat available, the more stationary home and office mat (pictured above) and the portable mat (pictured below), which neatly folds up and comes with its own carry case. Both devices can charge the same maximum number of devices. The home and office mat costs £70 with it’s portable counterpart costing a slightly dearer £80.
For each phone or device you want to charge you’ll need to purchase a separate receiver. The only phones you can currently buy receivers for are Apple iPhones and a selection of BlackBerry phones (including the Bold, Curve 8900 and the Curve 8300). Powermat also make the Powercube which comes with eight interchangeable connections (including mini USB) allowing you to charge Nokia, LG, Samsung and Sony Ericsson phones as well as the Sony PSP. It’s worth noting that the Nokia connection will only work with Nokia phones which accept the most recent 2mm chargers.
The Apple iPhone receivers come in the form of battery cases (only available for iPhone 3Gs and iPod Touches) which you attach to the back of the phone, or in the form of an iPod dock which sits on top of the Powermat. All of these go for £40 each. The BlackBerry receivers called ‘battery doors’ cost an additional £30. If you don’t want to have a Powermat receiver on the back of your iPhone or BlackBerry, then you can opt for a Powercube instead, which costs £30.