While details in the announcement were light, the two companies said that they will integrate ConvenientPower’s wireless charging technology into Formica Group’s Laminate surface and plan to bring their new products to market this year.
According to a Formica Group spokesperson, these new countertops are for both commercial (think: coffee shops, co-working spaces, etc.) and residential applications. There were no specifics on the price or how the technology will work other than being able to set your phone down anywhere on the surface to have it charge.
ConvenientPower supports the Wireless Power Consortium’s (WPC) Qi wireless power standard, which has been adopted by heavyweights like Samsung, Ikea and Apple. ConvenientPower makes Qi compatible products and the Formica Group is a member of the WPC.
While this general announcement only mentions powering “devices,” presumably the Formica Group is working with the WPC’s Kitchen Work Group, which is developing a kitchen-centric wireless charging standard for countertop appliances and low power devices on the same surface.
While the industry coalesces around the Qi standard, there are other solutions tackling the issue of wireless charging as well. If you’re at CES this week, you can check out Powercast, which is showing off its wireless charging technology. Powercast promises to charge low power gadgets over the air up to 80 feet away, no special surfaces required.
The cord-free kitchen is rapidly becoming a reality, and the Formica Group’s announcement is likely just the first of many such announcements we’ll see throughout this year.