FreePower wants to change how and where you charge your phone.


Key Takeaways

  • FreePower creates wireless charging pads for stone countertops, making charging devices seamless and interactive with light-up indicators.
  • Stone material chosen for translucency to enhance interaction and visibility, costs around $800 to $1,000 for installation.
  • FreePower plans to expand to wood counters, work with fabricators, showcase in showrooms and hotels for a convenient charging experience.


Wireless charging for our phones, wireless earbuds and even smartwatches has become commonplace and incredibly convenient. Wireless charging pads, however, are finicky. Especially pads that lack MagSafe or Qi2 support that use magnets to hold compatible phones and gadgets in place. You have to line up the charging coils on the pad and your phone just right, or it doesn’t charge at all.

In what feels like a lifetime ago, Apple announced AirPower, a wireless charging pad that would allow you to place all of your Apple gear anywhere on the pad, and it’d all magically, and wirelessly, charge. Apple eventually abandoned the project after Apple determined it didn’t meet their standards.

FreePower didn’t give up on the dream of hassle-free wireless charging.


However, FreePower didn’t give up on the dream of hassle-free wireless charging. Over the last few years, FreePower has partnered with the likes of Nomad Goods and its Base Station Pro and more recently with Tesla for its Wireless Charging Platform — both of which deliver on the vision Apple laid out with AirPower, but for any Qi compatible device.

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FreePower_Porduct_ExplodedView2_LabeledWhat’s FreePower up to now?

Wireless charging on all the surfaces

I recently talked with Jake Slatnick, the CEO and founder of FreePower, about the company’s latest product and how it brings the company closer to fulfilling its vision for “surface power,” by adding wireless charging to more surfaces.

FreePower’s latest product? A wireless charging pad that’s built into stone countertops during construction. There’s a light-up ring that shines through the stone, indicating where the charging pad is and when it’s active. The pads are big enough to wirelessly charge three devices at the same time.


“One of the big reasons that we choose stone is because stone — the majority of stones — have a level of translucency that you can project the light through. And when [you] get that translucency, it becomes very interactive,” Slatnick explained when I asked about the decision to launch FreePower for stone, and not another countertop material.

What FreePower is like to use

Seamless and somewhat magical

A few days before my call with Slatnick, FreePower sent me a demo sample — complete with a small piece of a stone countertop, with the FreePower charging tech embedded. The moment I opened the box, a ring of light lit up, showing me where I could place my phone, and adding a touch of fun to the overall experience.


After unboxing everything, I was left with a slab of stone countertop with a charging pad below it. When the unit is sitting idle, you can’t tell there’s anything different about it — it looks like a standard countertop. However, when I move my phone closer to it, the right lights up as an indicator to let me know that’s where the charging pad is. There are fans underneath the charging coils that quietly keep the unit cool.

The glow can be left on at all times, for situations like in a bar or a hotel room, allowing an employee to educate customers about the FreePower integration. “Whenever you go anywhere and see that glow, you’ll know it’s a wireless charger,” said Slatnick.

FreePower_Lifestyle_Bar

FreePower


There’s a bar in Phoenix, Ariz., called 36 Below, that currently has FreePower charging built into the countertop around the bar. (As you can see in the image above.) There’s also a companion app Slatnick says should be available soon. The app will allow you to control the light on the charger, including changing the color, and turning the

The cost for adding FreePower to your countertop is between $800 and $1,000 for each FreePower install.

The company is currently in the process of working with and certifying fabricators who then “pocket out” the stone to make room for the components, and place them in specific spots that are ideal for placing your phone and other devices on. For example, placing a pad in an area in the kitchen where you’re most likely to sit and place a laptop isn’t going to work, so instead it’s teaching fabricators how to think about proper placement and providing guidance.


Related

What is Qi2? New wireless charging standard explained

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FreePower_Fabricator_Install

FreePower/Pocket-lint

Where does FreePower go from here?

As many places as possible

When I asked Slatnick about where the company goes from here, he told me the company is working on retrofit kits for wood and other countertop materials. FreePower will continue to work with and certify more fabricators throughout the country, getting demo setups into showrooms nationwide, and working with furniture makers.

If you’re ever out in public, and you notice a ring of light on a flat surface, give in to the temptation — place your phone down inside it just to see what happens.

Additionally, FreePower will continue to work with hospitality businesses, like the bar mentioned earlier, along with hotels to place more of its wireless charging pads inside furniture and make wireless charging a seamless experience when you’re at home or on the road.


If you’re ever out in public, and you notice a ring of light on a flat surface, give in to the temptation — place your phone down inside it just to see what happens. There’s a good chance it’ll just start charging.



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