We’ve all got one: A large bowl that sits in the kitchen or the hall or the dining room where you put all the junk you don’t have any other place for: keys, mail, rubber bands, matches, batteries, take-out menus, whatever.
At CES, the big tech conference in Las Vegas, Intel unveiled a “smart bowl” that could change all that forever. It’s a wireless charging bowl: You dump your phone, iPod, earpiece, Fitbit or any other gadget that needs a charge into it and — boom! — pick it out a while later and it’s fully charged.
No more wires. No more jacks. No more plugs and sockets.
Your gadgets go into the bowl (probably with a bunch of other non-tech junk too) and voila! They’re charged.
The irony of the announcement is that Intel CEO Brian Krzanich unveiled a bunch of new, potentially game-changing initiatives at his keynote last night: a PC the size of a golf ball called Edison and an end to the use of “conflict minerals” from African war zones in its products, among them.
But as people left the gargantuan Venetian ballroom where he gave his speech, and as Business Insider chatted with other people at CES who had been at the event, it was clear that the bowl was the thing that really caught everyone’s imagination.
Basically, we’re all saying the same thing: I’ve got a bowl full of junk in my house, and I would totally use a smart bowl if it charged my stuff while it was in there.
There’s something else going on here too. While Intel’s announcements were impressive, they weren’t perfect. Some of them had a somewhat sinister surveillance bent to them. Intel has a smart watch coming that allows an app user to track its wearer — like a parent tracking their kids — for instance.
Separately, although Intel’s other new devices seemed useful (like the Jarvis earpiece that can handle a conversation and manage your phone even when it’s not switched on) the design wasn’t great. Jarvis looks like a hearing aid, not something you’d actually wear by choice.
The smart bowl, however, was sleekly designed, simple and useful.
Everyone seems to want one. Intel, however gave few details about it. You can read Krzanich’s speech here, to see exactly what he said about it. And there are some technical specs here. But as far as we can tell, right now, it’s simply a prototype and not a product.
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