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CES Feature Articles

January 08, 2014

Intel Brings Plans of a Smart Recharging Bowl to CES 2014

Intel (News - Alert) recently took the stage at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES (News - Alert)) event, and brought with it a new and exciting potential advance in gadgetry to check out. At first glance, it just looked like another bowl...until a closer look showed that this bowl had the potential to recharge smartphones, portable devices, headsets and more, and all on a wireless basis.

While the bowl in question doesn't have a name just yet, and looks vaguely like the kind of thing the Enterprise might have been shooting at in one “Star Trek” installment or another, it's still a clever enough idea. Simply remove devices from one's pocket at the end of a day, drop said devices into the charging bowl, and allow the charging bowl to pump juice into said devices whilst waiting for use again the next day.

Wireless chargers aren't really something new—things like the Qi charging protocol have been around for some time and even some electric vehicles have been seen with wireless charging systems--but Intel's would be a bit of a step up by offering charging for multiple devices and multiple types of devices. Right now, the wireless charging bowl only works to charge Intel's own smart headset. But as a proof of concept, it's sufficient to believe that it could expand outward in fairly rapid fashion to include other devices as well. Current plans are in the works to suggest that phones, tablets, and even Ultrabooks will be brought into play, suggesting that both the bowl—and the bowl's charging abilities—will only expand outward from here.

Currently the bowl measures around 10 inches in diameter—meaning that getting it all the way up to the Ultrabook stage will take some time—but it also uses magnetic resonance technology in its charging systems. This means that it's able to charge multiple devices at once, and not require those devices to be placed precisely in order to work the charging mechanisms. That's the kind of thing that's tailor-made for a “charging bowl” design, and should lend itself to working well once the charger can work with more items.

There's no word yet on pricing or availability—which isn't really a surprise for something being shown at CES—but if Intel really wants this to take off, it's going to have to really put a boost on the size and the utility of the device overall. There's not much sense in buying a device just to charge Intel's headset, so for Intel to gain ground here will require some serious improvement in versatility. That may be about the only thing keeping this out of the market so far, because there will likely be plenty of users happy to see a way to so easily recharge a device.

The future of Intel's charging bowl is a little doubtful in its current state, but a few minor modifications and a decent price tag (News - Alert) should keep this idea front and center in plenty of potential buyers' minds when it finally arrives in stores.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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