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So how wireless is wireless?

Despite the freedom to do almost everything ‘on the go’, the total distance between us and the nearest charging point remains directly proportional to the number of gadgets our lives revolve around today, writes Rajiv Arora.

india Updated: Sep 18, 2009 01:19 IST
Rajiv Arora

It’s a vicious circle. Go wireless in order to stay connected and then plug up to ensure unhindered mobility. Despite the freedom to do almost everything ‘on the go’, the total distance between us and the nearest charging point remains directly proportional to the number of gadgets our lives revolve around today.

On an average, there will be as many cellphones as the number of occupants in an urban household. Then there will be a couple of laptops, an iPod and a digital camera. Recharging each of these devices ensures a periodic obeisance at the mouth of the once-neglected switchboards. So what if the aesthetics of these serpentine black wires coiled around the patchboards are not unlike the tongue-protruding mukhotas (masks) that ‘protect’ our homes from harm and the evil eye.

But while most of us struggle to shove those bulky three-pin boxes inside the closet and furiously untangle the wires each time they are pulled out, the fact remains that different battery chargers for various gizmos do complicate our ‘wireless’ lives. Add to it the confusion of finding better use for the ‘accessories’ if and when we upgrade our dependencies or misplace or break the corresponding widgets.

The bottomline: they are as useless when not in use as they are when they can’t be used. So this is the new version of the old paperless office that ends up producing more print-outs than in the old-style ‘paper and files’ one.

One of the two proposed solutions has already got the European Union’s nod. It’s the concept of a universal charger for all mobile phones by 2012. The other sounds too futuristic just yet: transmitting electricity wirelessly. The former seems practical — similar to USB (universal serial bus) charging for all phones. But it’s unclear whether mobile phone companies will be a party to this, considering charger-selling is also a revenue earner.

But be rest assured that even when you are engrossed reading a write-up like this, ‘the guys’ are busy trying to find technological solutions to our problems — and problems to our solutions. After all, people like us who are tech-savvy because our neighbours are tech-savvy, are now addicted to this little critters of modern lifestyle.