We’ve all been there: you need to make a call and the battery in your phone is near death. And there’s nary an outlet in sight — or you’re in a foreign airport and your charger plug doesn’t fit anyway.
Newport Beach, Calif.-based ChargeAll offers a way out: a universal wireless charging kiosk. It’s a tall cabinet with several bays that contain several plugs and a charging plate. It’s designed to be a public charging station in hotel lobbies, airports and the like.
To use it, open the bay, plug the phone or tablet into a cord or leave it on the charging plate. The machine asks you to put in a password for your bay so you can pick up the phone later without worrying about theft. The wireless charging is a big plus if you happen to own a phone or device that has a new or unique connector. (I’m looking at you, Apple.)
The kiosk bay glows in different colors to show when the device is fully recharged: it starts off red, turns yellow and then green. At that point, you just enter the password and retrieve the phone.
It’s a step up from the usual public charging stations in that you needn’t wait right by your phone, since it’s locked in the bay. The company says that in case of a power failure there are several ways for a technician to open it, and the same is true if you forget the password.
The kiosk also offers the option to, well, charge for charging — insert a dollar bill, and the bay opens up. They can also be set up as an advertising platform — instead of being charged a fee, the user could watch an ad instead.
One other thing that might give people pause: it does have the ability to be controlled remotely and runs on Windows, so it’s near certain some enterprising hacker will find a way to play all kinds of practical jokes.