iQi Mobile Wireless Charging for iPhone Is a Cool Convenience
Nov 6, 2013 5:00 AM PT
While competing smartphones from other manufacturers have had wireless charging for some time -- and some bulky special cases have been available for iPhones -- a new Indiegogo campaign aims to bring wireless charging to iPhones via iQi Mobile, a super slim coil receiver.
iQi Mobile, created by Fonesalesman, is thinner than a credit card. It uses a flexible ribbon and a tiny Lightning connector to get power into an iPhone's battery. It's designed to be placed flat against the back of an iPhone 5, 5s, or 5c and folded around to meet the Lightning port on the bottom of the phone. Then, it fits inside most any flexible silicone or rubberized sort of case, essentially hidden from view.
To charge your iPhone, you simply place it on top of a Qi inductive power source, like a round puck that moves energy from your power source to the iQi Mobile receiver and into your iPhone. Qi, by the way, is an interface standard developed by the Wireless Power Consortium for inductive electrical power transfers.
Of course, iQi Mobile is just the receiver unit that accepts the inductive charge, and Indiegogo campaign supporters most likely will want a charger, too. So Fonesalesman has bundled a Limited Edition Indiegogo Koolpuck Charger into some of the campaign perks.
What Does This Mean for iPhone Usage?
Basically, this means you can set your iPhone down on a charging puck, and it'll start charging. You don't need to find and untangle a cable and plug it in -- you just set the iPhone down on the charging device. When you're ready to go, you just pick up your iPhone and leave.
Granted, this is a convenience sort of product. Over the life of your iPhone, you're only saving minutes out of your entire life -- but it's still an improvement, still undeniably cool. If you sync your iPhone and wirelessly back it up entirely via iCloud, inductive wireless charging makes even better sense.
The iQi Mobile Wireless Charging for iPhone campaign has a funding goal of US$30,000. It launched Oct. 31 and will end Nov. 29. It is set up with flexible funding, which means the campaign will receive all the funds even if it doesn't meet it's $30,000 goal. So, supporters beware. With 24 days to go, the campaign has raised $3,256.
The key perks include an iQi Mobile Mock-Up non-functioning unit that shows you what iQi Mobile will basically look like and how it works. More to the point, it will let you install it with your favorite flexible case.
If you're married to your case but it doesn't work, you're only out $5 to support the cause and get the mockup. If you're pleasantly surprised, you'll get $5 off your purchase of the shipping product. Sounds great for all the doubting Debbies out there.
There's a handful of Early Bird iQi Mobile spots left, which delivers the iQi Mobile device only for $20 (but not a Koolpuck Charger). The great thing here is that Fonesalesman is planning to deliver these units in December in time for holiday gifts -- but no firm dates have been given.
At $50, you get the iQi Mobile plus one Koolpuck Charger in your choice of 14 colors -- but only if you're one of 50 early birds. Get there late and the price for this bundle perk jumps to $65. The remaining perks kick in with additional units at higher price points.
If the funding takes off, Fonesalesman plans to offer stretch goals to create a compatible hard case -- slim, of course -- as well as a unit suitable for iPad usage, which will require higher power output and a longer ribbon cord. Incidentally, the 5th generation iPod touch is compatible right now.
Will It Work?
The technology appears to be nailed down and seems to work right now. The production run? It's hard to tell if Fonesalesman will deliver units if the funding goal isn't met, but it seems to believe in the product and the vision.
No doubt, a small and unobtrusive wireless charging device could attract more attention than other sorts of inductive charging products that require expensive and bulky hard case solutions.