Over the last few years, the different connectors which gadgets use to plug into a power source have become more standardised, and now most products a micro USB connector. Popular brands that use this system BlackBerry, and Android phones by the likes of Samsung and HTC.
The other dominant player in this market is Apple, of course. It recently changed its standard power port from the older 30-pin model seen up to the iPhone 4S and iPad 3, to the new “Lightning” connector.
This growing standardisation has made it easier for manufacturers to supply more universal battery packs without the need for many different connectors.
This trend is also providing opportunities for our market in the form of adapters. These are often relatively low cost and should provide good branding opportunities.
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Portable battery packs are also in high demand, as the battery in most smartphones is not able to keep up with the amount of use they get on a daily basis. Battery packs today range widely in cost from entry level models which can charge a smart phone Up to approx 50% of the battery right through to high end versions which can fully charge tablets and smart phones over three times from a single charge.
Portable power sources take many shapes and sizes and can include both solar powered devices and units that are charged via AC or USB power. All of these devices require the battery to be fully charged before first use but often, in higher spec items, come part-charged for an emergency boost of power once the product comes out the packaging.
These types of devices are measured by their output power in volts and their battery capacity measured in mAh, or milliampere-hour. It’s good to look carefully at this when choosing items for your client, and consider both their target market and budget. Too small, and the power of the unit will be disappointing. Too large and the budget may not extend to them.
Charging adapters and hubs are also growing in popularity, especially those that fit into the 12v outlet in cars. The ability to charge your device when travelling is very popular and in this category, look for items which have a 2.1A output.
Many cases are now available for all the major phone brands, and often have enough power inside to re-charge the phone completely when flat or top up. Charging our gadgets is about to change over the next 12-18 months as the growth in wireless charging starts to hot up. This new technology involves the device being simply laid onto a wireless charging plate charging via inductive electrical power transfer.
Most of the major brands and manufacturers (bar Apple) have adopted the Qi standard for this, Have a look at www.wirelesspowerconsortium.com, which constantly updates the latest brands to launch Qi enabled phones. It is rumoured that Apple will launch its own wireless system next year.
Just think, in a year or so, we will all probably be walking into a coffee shop or bar, putting our phone down on the table and watching as it starts to wirelessly charge!