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Charging goes wireless with inductive systems.

NEW YORK--Smartphones need to be recharged frequently, and a number of companies have developed a way to make that process more convenient.

With inductive charging, devices can be recharged without needing to be plugged in. The power is transferred wirelessly when the gadget is placed on a special mat.

Energizer Holdings Inc. is a leading member of the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), an organization devoted to promoting a universal wireless standard called Qi (pronounced chee) to ensure the interoperability of products from different manufacturers. Energizer says it was the first manufacturer to bring a full suite of Qi-certified products to market. The company introduced its Energizer Inductive Charger in October 2010, along with a number of sleeves and battery doors to make the charger work with different devices. The charger was honored with an International CES Innovations 2011 Design and Engineering Award at last year's Consumer Electronics Show.

Energizer has since expanded the line with Qi sleeves for the most popular smartphones, including the iPhone 4 (a sleeve for the iPhone 4S is coming soon), and developed a single zone version of the inductive charger for those interested in having an extra charging pad in their office or on a bedside table.

Procter & Gamble Co. (P&G), meanwhile, has formed a joint venture with Powermat Ltd., a pioneer in wireless charging, to develop a line of wireless power products under the Duracell Powermat brand name. The products, including charging mats, receiver cases/battery doors and portable backup batteries, will be unveiled at this year's CES show, and are set to actually launch this summer.

"Several decades ago Duracell was a pioneer in a new revolutionary product category, alkaline roundcell batteries," Duracell president Stassi Anastassov said when the joint venture was announced last September. "Today it is a multibillion-dollar category. In a not-too-distant future we expect wireless power solutions to eliminate the hassle of multiple cords and chargers, creating a major growth opportunity. Innovation to create new solutions that touch and improve people's lives is what P&G-Duracell are all about. The joint venture between Duracell and Powermat puts us in the driver-seat for this disruptive category creation."

Powermat, like Energizer, is part of the WPC, whose membership roster currently has a total of 102 companies.

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Title Annotation:SUPPLY SIDE
Date:Jan 23, 2012
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