Before Switzerland, I never owned any Ikea furniture. I would have to pretend laugh when someone told a joke about “assembling Ikea” or their famous meatballs. Then I moved into the apartment my Swiss landlord furnished and started looking at the bottoms of chairs, glasses and lamps–I realized I live in an Ikea showroom. I haven’t found an item yet that isn’t Ikea!
This week I had to get to know the Swedish furniture maker better when I wrote this ThriveWire story on Ikea’s line of phone-charging furniture. The company is smart and knows its market, I’ll give them that. But I hope I’ll never be too lazy to not plug my phone into a charger.
One of life’s most persistent problems in the 21st century is keeping a phone charged—wrangling all those wires and not losing one’s charger is a job in itself (#FirstWorldProblems). Sigh. But those Swedish geniuses at Ikea said “no more” this week when they introduced a line of phone-charging furniture.
“Through research and home visits, we know that people hate cable mess,” Ikea corporate manager Jeanette Skjelmose said at the unveiling. “They worry about not finding the charger and running out of power. Our new innovative solutions, which integrate wireless charging into home furnishings, will make life at home simpler.”
Using Qi wireless technology, these phone charging stations will be integrated into pieces such as nightstands, tables, desks and lamps. Ikea will make the furniture available in North American and Europe in April, in addition to kits that consumers can use to integrate a phone charging station into existing IKEA furniture.
Choosing a nightstand with a phone charging station versus one without will cost consumers about $33 extra, in keeping with Ikea’s promise to produce affordable furniture.
The only catch? The technology will not be compatible with iPhone users, according to Wireless Power Consortium, which developed Qi wireless technology. Qi wireless charging technology is compatible with about 80 different types of smartphone, including Samsung Galaxy, Nokia Lumia, Google Nexus and Sharp Aquos phones.
The good news is that consumers will not have to assemble the phone charging stations themselves.