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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Jay-Z Backs Duracell Powermat Chargers

Jay-Z is adding big-name juice to the wireless power industry. Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, Grammy winner and brand new dad, is investing in Duracell Powermat and becoming the face of wireless charging.

Duracell Powermat is a joint venture between Procter & Gamble's Duracell brand and Powermat Technologies. Powermat is the outfit behind wireless mats that let consumers charge smartphones and other devices just by putting them on the mats.

Powermat's ultimate vision is to make wireless charging ubiquitous, an ecosystem similar to the placement of Wi-Fi hot spots. "You will be able to enjoy wireless power wherever you go, at a coffee shop, restaurant or airport," says Ron Rabinowitz, CEO of the joint venture. Adds Powermat Technologies CEO Ran Poliakine, "Our mission is to populate the universe with access points in any surface surrounding us in a way that you, as a user, will forget that you even have a battery in your devices."

Last year, for example, Powermat struck a deal with General Motors to bring wireless charging to the Chevy Volt.

At the Consumer Electronics Show here, the company announced a partnership with New York's Madison Square Garden. Fans attending a concert this summer or watching a Knicks basketball game or Rangers hockey match will be able to plunk their phones down on wireless mats at various locations in the arena.

"As someone who spends almost 200 nights a year in venues, I'm thrilled," says Scott O'Neil, president of Madison Square Garden Sports.

"So many of our fans are downloading photos (during games) and engaging in social platforms. (That's) a suck on the battery."

The wireless power initiative is part of the Garden's ongoing renovation. "We're scouring every corner of the Earth to figure out how we can use and implement technology to improve the fan experience," O'Neil says. Mats will be placed in luxury suites,...

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