No Foul! Wireless Charging Hotspots Coming to Madison Square Garden

iPhone with Duracell Powermat wireless charging sleeve next to wireless charging hotspot.

Duracell Powermat to install wireless charging hotspots in restaurants, bars and luxury boxes in the “World’s Most Famous Arena.”

If you remember the Patrick Ewing-era New York Knicks, you know they were tough enough to take a hard charge now and then for the team. In a few weeks you’ll be able to get a charge yourself–wirelessly and without the pain—courtesy of Duracell Powermat.

Duracell Powermat booth at the 2012 CES.

The company announced at last week’s 2012 CES in Las Vegas that it has been tapped by Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association and the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League, to install wireless charging hotspots around the Manhattan arena.

If you have a iPhone or other smartphone or mobile device and you outfit it with a wireless charging sleeve, which will be sold at the Garden as well as at major electronics stores, you’ll be able to give your device a charge while it sits in front of you as you dine or drink or gently air your opinion about the officiating of the game below.

Mockup of Garden suite with wireless charging hotspot at 2102 CES in Las Vegas.

The Duracell Powermat wireless charging sleeves as well as those already available from companies such as Energizer adhere to a wireless charging standard named “Qi,” developed by the Wireless Power Consortium, which showed off a wealth of Qi-compatible devices at the 2012 CES. This means that any Qi-compatible sleeve will work with the hotspots at the Garden–not just those made by Duracell Powermat.

Wireless Power Consortium shows off Qi-compatible devices at 2012 CES.

An upcoming Duracell Powermat smartphone app will not only tell you how much power is left in your device, but it will also direct you to the nearest wireless charging hotspot.

If you use the app while you’re sitting in the Garden, you can use your phone’s camera to scan the arena and, through the magic of “augmented reality,” the app will generate pointers in the image to show you where the hotspots are.

Duracell Powermat smartphone app previewed at the 2012 CES in Las Vegas.

The new inductive charging stations will appear first in the Event Level Suites, which were added as part of the first phase of a three-phase renovation of the Garden last year. Eventually they will pop up in the Garden’s Madison Suites, the Delta Sky360 Club and in the 1879 Club presented by J.P. Morgan.

Entertainer Jay-Z is the new spokesman for the new Duracell Powermat wireless charging initiative at the Garden, which is a little bit ironic since he is a part owner of the nearby rival New Jersey Nets—soon to be the even closer Brooklyn Nets. Duracell Powermat LLC is a joint venture of Procter & Gamble, parent company of Duracell, and Powermat.

Text and photos Copyright 2012, Robert S. Anthony, Stadium Circle Features

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Paper PC Picks: Jabra Supreme Bluetooth Headset

Here’s another installment of Paper PC Picks, a selection of nifty gadgets and other electronic gear that make quality gift selections for the holiday season. These innovative products are culled from the hundreds spotted at trade shows and press events and during one-on-one meetings with tech-company representatives.

It’s not the smallest Bluetooth device you’ll ever hook to your ear,
but the Jabra Supreme’s excellent sound and comfortable fit
make it a top-notch traveling companion.

Jabra Supreme Bluetooth headset.

The Jabra Supreme Bluetooth headset looks bulky with its large speaker housing and fold-out microphone, but just a few minutes with the $100 unit should be enough to win you over.

The Jabra Supreme has no power switch or button: Fold out the microphone to turn it on and fold it back to shut it off. It will also shut down automatically after a set period of disuse, thus saving you from yourself.

Jabra’s proprietary active noise cancellation technology is a clear benefit to those at the other end of your conversations. While testing the Supreme at a noisy conference in a New York hotel, I asked the person at the other end if he could hear me OK. Not only could he hear me, but he wasn’t aware that I was in a ballroom with hundreds of other people until I told him so. 

The active noise cancellation can be adjusted with a free Jabra Supreme smartphone app now available in Google’s Android Market and will be available soon as an iPhone app as well. The app also shows how much talk time and battery power you have left.

Jabra Supreme in folded "Off" position.

Unlike other Bluetooth headsets which require a snug fit to the area just outside the ear canal, the Jabra Supreme rests comfortably on the outside. The combination of its potent 24mm speaker and its changeable soft rubber cushion results in a very comfortable listening experience. Voices come through clearly with good fidelity but not so loud that others can eavesdrop.

According to Jabra, its HD Voice technology optimizes the incoming audio for voice traffic while the unit’s dual micrphones and the company’s Noise Blackout 3.0 technology reduces extraneous noises.

Top view of Jabra Supreme

The unit can link with two devices at the same time–a nice plus for those who travel with work and personal cell phones. Between the comfortable ear hook and ear rest, you can get a lot done with its advertised six hours of talk time and 15 days of standby time per two-hour charge of its lithium ion battery.

Despite its size, at 0.64 ounces the unit is light enough that you can forget that it’s on your ear. It supports A2DP, which basically means that you can control your music streaming from compatible phones and digital music players with the headset.

Since it’s bigger than your average Bluetooth 3.0 headset, the Jabra Supreme will make a visible lump in your shirt or jacket pocket and it’s easier to knock off your ear if you’re the least bit clumsy. The positioning of the Volume Up and Volume Down buttons may take a little getting used to, but the large Call Pickup/End button and the Voice Command button on the microphone are very easy to find and activate.

The Jabra Supreme Bluetooth headset won’t win any fashion awards, but if you can live with that, it should fit the needs of most casual and demanding Bluetooth headset users.

Text Copyright 2011, Robert S. Anthony, Stadium Circle Features
Photos courtesy of Jabra