Your Next Ikea Table May Wirelessly Charge Your Phone

The next nightstand or coffee table you buy from Ikea could also charge your cell phone and tablet. The Swedish furniture retailer announced Monday that it will be launching a new line of products capable of charging all of your devices wirelessly using the Qi wireless power standard, with the first pieces expected to be made available in Europe and North America in April, to be followed by a global rollout.

The announcement came during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) exhibition, taking place this week in Barcelona. Ikea said it would take advantage of the conference to showcase the new line of products, including the charge pad, shown above, that is designed to work on any surface.

Channeling Your Qi

Ikea chose to go with the Qi wireless standard for its charging protocol. Qi was developed by a consortium of players in the wireless market known as the Wireless Power Consortium, or WPC. The consortium, which was founded in 2008, counts major device manufacturers, including Samsung, LG and Nokia among its ranks. Samsung's latest phone, the S6, is one of the latest devices using the Qi protocol.

According to the company, Qi is the most widely available power standard. It is already being deployed in 3,000 locations, including hotels, restaurants and airports, while there are now more than 80 Qi-enabled smartphones on the market, and 15 automobile models that employ the standard.

"Our belief is that mobile phones are vital parts to people's lives at home and their desire to stay connected, and Qi addresses an unmet need to keep devices powered," said Bjorn Block, range manager for Lighting and Wireless Charging at Ikea, in a statement announcing the new technology. "As a member of WPC, we value the access to the leading and most advanced global standard for wireless charging." ...