This week, Dell Inc. made available a new 2-in-1 Windows convertible laptop it announced earlier in the year, the Latitude 7000, a device the company says is the first of its kind to feature wireless charging. It’s not cheap: to use the feature, you need to add a $550 keyboard accessory and Charging Mat bundle on top of the system’s base $1,200 price.
But it got us thinking, why don’t more laptops and smart phones have wireless charging built in? Why are we still surrounded by charging cables and wall plugs?
Even devices that do have the feature, such as Samsung’s newer Galaxy and Edge phones, still require a charging device to lay them on and a plug to an electric outlet. While laying a device on a mat or pad is easier than connecting a cable, it’s not without issues. In general, the reason wireless charging isn’t more ubiquitous (other than that Apple hasn’t introduced any products that do this) is that charging wirelessly is typically slower than a wired connection, can generate more heat and use more energy, and costs more if you have to buy accessories.
In the case of the new Dell system, the Massachusetts company behind the charging technology, WiTricity, claims the new 2-in-1 charges just as fast wirelessly than with a plugged-in connection.
Every week, we’ll define a tech term, offer a timely tip or answer questions about technology from readers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or topic suggestions.
News on Open Source is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of 512tech.com comes with an American-Statesman digital subscription, which also includes myStatesman.com and the ePaper edition. Subscribe at statesman.com/subscribe.