IKEA are never short of new ideas to make people's lives simpler and their latest concept in furniture seems to have been designed with the absent-minded, too many things on our minds' people in consideration. The Swedish furniture giants have come up with the idea of furniture that allows your mobile phone to be plugged into it without the need for wires, allowing the user (or should that be lounger) to charge their phone just about anywhere they see fit.
In partnership with Qi, an interface standard developed by the Wireless Power Consortium for inductive electrical power transfer over relatively small distances, IKEA will produce desks, tables and lamps that will be capable of charging up people's smart phones and tablets. With no need for extra wires, the charging pads are effectively a part of the furniture. In order to tap into the market for those that do not wish to purchase their furniture with the integrated charging mechanisms built in, it will also be possible to buy stand-alone charging pads, which can be attached to furniture that people already have in the home.
The new collection, called "Home Smart" has been demonstrated at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow in Barcelona recently. The Mobile World Congress is a combination of both the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry, in addition to a conference that includes leading executives that represent mobile operators, device manufacturers, vendors and the like from the industry in general.
IKEA have been busily involved carrying out research and visiting people in their homes to assess what they would ideally want, drawing the conclusion that people do not like lots of cables in their homes. Jeanette Skjelmose, a corporate manager at IKEA, said that people "worry about not finding the charger and running out of power. Our new innovative solutions, which integrate wireless charging into home furnishings, will make life at home simpler."
The new furniture range should be on sale from the middle of April in Europe and North America, although the rest of the world will not be far behind in the company's thoughts for the roll-out of the new range.
The chargers have been designed to work with Samsung Galaxies, Google Nexus 6 and some others. Although the chargers are not directly compatible at the outset with iPhones, adapters will be available.
There have been some doubters as to the potential success or otherwise of the new product range, with claims that the process of charging utilised often generates excessive heat, which can cause #Smartphone batteries to become damaged. Environmental concerns have also been voiced about the potential ecological impacts. Friends of the Earth are concerned that it may be difficult to separate the new 'doodads' from the furniture itself, causing issues around the recycling of these products.