Powermat intros new iPhone 4 case, augmented reality app
Powermat had a decent presence at CES 2012, not only by showing off their first Duracell co-branded iPhone 4 case and wireless charging pad, but also announcing their first app. Powermat has partnered with Madison Square Garden so that when you place your iPhone onto one of the mats built into the counters in the box seats, the app will give you the option to check in via Facebook Places. While that's cool, and sets the stage for a future cross-section of location-based social networks and wireless charging, the real function of the Powermat app is to find charging locations with augmented reality; just point your iPhone's camera in any given direction, and you'll see which spots have a Powermat installed. Favorite places don't have one? You can also use the app to vote on locations you'd like to see sporting some charging mats. Powermat can then use those votes to convince businesses to buy a few. Of course, the app will also issue a notification when you're running low on battery life, and prompt you to launch into a search. One of the more interesting uses for Powermats in businesses is the notion of monetizing charging, so you'd have to pay another buck or two to activate the charging mat. Sure, it seems like a bit of a money grab, especially if Powermat ends up skimming some of that revenue for themselves, but certainly an interesting opportunity for business owners of call kinds. Sure, it's handy having a few mats around the house to charge, but it's when you're out on the town that you're likely to need a charge the most, so I'm really excited for these to become a more common sight. The Duracell partnership is cool firstly because it puts stand-alone wirelessly-charging batteries on the horizon, but also because Duracell is a early member of the Qi Consortium, so Powermat may eventually lead the charge in a global interoperable standard for the technology. Smartphone manufacturers will definitely be much more likely to start building in receivers if Powermat has managed to sell a bunch of compatible mats to the public already. The new iPhone 4 case, charging puck, pad, and app are due out in the Spring. Hit the jump for a video rundown (sorry for the obnoxious lighting).