Lenovo, who has partnered with Energysquare has started announcing wireless charging products for your existing laptops. I’ve talked about this technology in an earlier post that I will link below.

Jan
16

Wireless Charging for Laptops and Beyond

One announcement at CES 2021 that in my opinion, didn’t get the discussion it deserves, comes from Energysquare which is a small start-up that wants to make wireless charging in laptops mainstream. Wireless charging is growing more and more common with smaller electronics but in terms of larger ones, the pros and cons are still […]

Just announced is the kit to make just about any 13-14″ laptop be able to charge wirelessly. It will just cost you a USB-C port and only work with laptops that need up to 65W (maximum output of 20V, 3.25A, and 65W to be exact) power delivery. It is a simple accessory that rides on a rail, presumably for fast removal if needed. It comes into contact with the charging panel and makes the connection. This setup adds 3.2mm of thickness to your laptop, which might be a steep trade-off for some.

The kit, part of Lenovo’s new Go line is scheduled to launch in October with a cost of $139.99 USD.

One announcement at CES 2021 that in my opinion, didn’t get the discussion it deserves, comes from Energysquare which is a small start-up that wants to make wireless charging in laptops mainstream.

Laptop with integrated wireless charging. Note silver-coloured electrodes that make contact with the mat.

Wireless charging is growing more and more common with smaller electronics but in terms of larger ones, the pros and cons are still being decided. This hasn’t stopped Lenovo from jumping on board their plan to offer it in their next generation of ThinkBooks. Both the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 i and ThinkBook 13X i will feature Energysquare’s wireless charging technology as an optional addon. But who will really benefit from wireless charging?

Wireless charging technology from Energysquare will be optional on the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 i and ThinkBook 13X i
  1. Businesses. Work areas and meeting rooms where plugs are at a premium and playing “kick the cable” is leaving wear marks on your shoes would greatly benefit from this setup. Businesses running older units that don’t have the technology built-in might really like the idea of their “stick-on” solution. It would also reduce cost over time invested in charging cables.
  2. Heavy Home Office. If you do not travel a lot with your laptop, or if it comes home each night to charge then this is a viable option. Having a larger mat like the ones featured in Energysquare’s promotional material would make sense to place your devices on to charge without a mess of cables.
  3. Early adopters. If you sit on the bleeding edge of technology, you probably have considered or have mangled a piece of furniture to hide a wireless charging pad. This would eliminate the need to do so and also as OEMs support the integration of the technology into more devices, provide a sleeker, minimalistic look.

Just like several pieces of technology, however, I think there are some users who are still far away from benefitting from this technology.

  1. Travellers. If you are constantly on the move, taking a wireless charging mat over several chargers may or may not appeal to you. If the charging mat were flexible, lightweight and all of your devices were supported, then it might be a possible solution.
  2. Students. Whether in university or grade school, you are likely going to be surrounded by some dated tech and little personal space, so this might not be the best solution. However, perhaps in the future, there will be smart desks or collaboration tables that include wireless charging for student devices.
  3. The average user. I’m not sure the average person has fully embraced wireless charging yet and may not be until they are forced perhaps with the omission of a charging port from a popular phone brand. The benefits might not be known to the general public or the dwindling list of drawbacks as the technology gets better. Some of the accessories that Energysquare is developing though will make it more attractive and potentially change how we view the technology.
A simple desk lamp that can be placed anywhere on the mat and function could change how we think about wireless technology and our workspaces.

Needless to say, this is one part of laptop technology that I don’t believe is just going to be passing fancy.