Monday, June 29, 2009

Tangled Technology

In one our kitchen drawers, where most people would have cooking utensils, we have a tangled mess of power chords. For three different types of cell phones, two laptops (PC and MAC) and a couple of MP3 players of different sorts, we literally use the entire drawer to keep the chargers organized. The location is also walking distance to enough plugs to charge these devices that get used on a regular basis. In the hall cupboard we keep chargers for items we only use on a semi-regular basis: cameras, digital video recorder, walkie-talkies and that sort of thing. Sometimes it is difficult to find a place to plug in a charger as the kids might be charging something like a Nintendo DS. It is unlikely that one charger will charge more than one item, unless made by the same company, like Apple.

Although this might be good from the manufacturing company’s viewpoint, from a household, environmental, and common sense viewpoint it is quite ridiculous! Well, this is about to change – at least in Europe it will. A deal has been struck by the world’s top ten mobile phone makers and the EU Industry Commission for companies to make a universal charger. The idea being that one charger can be plugged in anywhere and charge any mobile phone. If Apple, Research in Motion, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola and Palm extended this to their entire product line I could empty my kitchen drawer and fill it with… well kitchen stuff!

The real future of charging our gadgets will be with wireless chargers. The charger will be plugged in and our mobile devices will charge when placed on the charger pad. This isn’t anything new but it is getting better and will continue to do so. For example, Wildcharge has just released a new wire-free charging system designed to charge the iPhone and iPod touch, which they have already done for some Blackberry products. My only complaint being that the iDevice must be placed in a protective-like case that transmits the power when placed on the pad. But I would prefer to have a few of these around instead of the tangle of chords I currently have.

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