Wireless power takes another baby step at CES 2010 with Qi standard

It's our third year visiting with Fulton Innovation and the eCoupled wireless power booth at CES, and once again there's significant progress to be seen -- this time in the form of actual shipping products like the Case-mate Hug and the Dell Latitude Z. Fulton's really pushing the industry standard angle with eCoupled -- it's a founding member of the Wireless Power Consortium, which is just a few months away from finalizing a standard based on eCoupled called Qi. Qi's going to be backed by some pretty big names: Motorola, Nokia, RIM, Energizer, Duracell, Samsung, and Philips are all members of the WPC, along with several others, and the goal is for all this stuff to seamlessly play together. Fulton had some pretty hot demos to show off of the standard in action, including a Toyota Avalon interior with functional spots for two phones, a GPS, a Bluetooth headset, and a netbook, a slick first-class airline seat with a charging table, and a hotel room with several power points -- including a slick motorized dock built into the desk for the Dell. Our favorite demo, however, was a wall sconce: an eCoupled point in the wall was used to power a light fixture, which was then swapped for a digital photo frame. Nifty stuff, indeed.

Still, the big challenge for Fulton and the WPC is going to be actually shipping a bunch of these products this year -- standards are nice, but without gear in hand they're meaningless, and the rival PowerMat crew has been making a pretty big push of its own. We'll see what happens in the next few months -- and how much has changed at CES 2011. Check a couple videos after the break!