CHICAGO -- The future of wireless charging just got a big power up thanks to Dupont. The veteran materials maker announced it will build induction chargers into a select version of its Corian countertops. Called the Corian Charging Surface, the product is a close cousin to the same polymer first dreamed up during the dawn of the space age, only now it can provide juice to smartphones, tablets and laptops without cords.
Design and features
If you've bought a recent Android phone such as a Nexus 6, or , chances are good you are familiar with the pleasure of charging your handset wirelessly. These devices boast compatibility with the Qi wireless charging standard (created by the Wireless Power Consortium). As a result their batteries can slurp electricity from Qi cordless charging stations without needing an additional case or other third-party accessory.
Likewise, iPhone owners have had the option to purchase kits from Duracell PowerMat for years. These case upgrades and chargers work to address the iPhone's lack of integrated wireless power abilities.
The Corian Charging Surface goes one step further by supporting both Qi and Powermat protocols. Yes, this means conceivably you'll be able to drop any mobile device configured to draw either Qi or Powermat wireless power on to this Dupont fixture and reap the benefits. This includes the Powermat Charging Ring accessory designed to give the gift of wireless energy to Apple products, through either Lightning or 30-pin Apple connectors.
How well does Corian Charging Surface work and how easy is it to use? Dupont is showcasing the technology this week at the NeoCon commercial interior industry trade show. I was able to take the solution for spin in person and can say the experience is on par with other wireless charging products I've tried in the past.
I placed my Nexus 6 down onto a sample countertop within the "charging spot" area labelled by Dupont. As usual it took me a few moments to find the sweet spot, an issue common with all wireless chargers, but after that power instantly began to flow into my handset. I did notice charging wasn't very fast, so if you're expecting the speed of a corded Quick Charge adapter you'll be disappointed.
Many phones including the HTC One M9, and support this technology from chip maker Qualcomm. That said, Dupont confirmed the electronics within Corian Charging Surface are technically capable of providing the required 15-watt spec for Quick Charge but are limited to 5 watts for now. All this could change in a flash, however, with a simple software update.
As it now stands, unless you buy a separate Qi or Powermat gadget yourself, the chance of running into wireless charging in the wild is pretty low. Dupont hopes its Corian Charging Surface will change things for the better. It plans to work with big-box retailers who will offer the solution to customers directly. Similarly you can expect the company to provide sanctioned Corian fabricators and installers with the tools to fulfil customer orders of the surfacing.
Feeling the pull to add fancy magnetic induction charging to your home's countertops? Thankfully you shouldn't have to wait long. Dupont expects to ship the Corian Charging Surface solution immediately in the U.S. to its network of fabricators, installers, and retailers, with international availability slated for September 2015. Though Dupont doesn't set prices directly, the company says consumers can expect to tack on about $200 per charging station. This is on top of the existing cost of their planned Corian countertop remodeling project.