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Things That Make You Go Ssiiiihht

Shanghai: power cables hell

Ssiiiihht: that’s the sound that a consumer makes when she buys a spare phone/laptop charger – the sharp intake of breathe that comes from paying a considerable premium for a lump of dumb plastic and metal. Given that the manufacturer already has a captive audience (you’ve already bought the product) and the the customers need is great (the product is useless without power) is it any surprise that manufacturers charge a premium for additional power supplies?

There will come a day when (some) phone/tablet/laptop chargers will be given away for free. What will make this feasible is: a charger that can measure the power that flows through its wires; a way of identifying the owner of the power supply and/or the device that is drawing the power; and a method for automatically billing the consumer when the power is drawn from supply.

Electricity sold at a premium – for the convenience of always being within a few meters of a power supply – will consumers go for it? Would you?

Photo? Been hot-desking this week, with a power supply in tow.