The woes of the mobile device power user are most often directly related to the two great hurdles to consumer technology: “battery and bandwidth”. We have always assumed that the improvement would come through technological enhancement to battery capabilities and network speed — but innovation always finds its own way. The new Yubi Kickstarter project (just launched today) changes the rules on recharging our mobile devices: rather than expanding the battery (either through a larger battery or an external one) the Yubi project brings the charger to everywhere we are.
Called the “everywhere-you-spend-time solution”, the Yubi smart-docks are designed for bars, restaurants, cabs, trains, buses and more. Of course, the system is monetized for both profit and maintenance — the dock provides power to devices via their patented “SmartSpike”, which sends an identification number to the phone which in turn uses an application to send an authorization code back to the dock.
It would appear that the Yubi system could be a semi-permanent solution to our own “Kaufman’s Hypothesis”, which states that the demands on battery capabilities and network speed are a relatively constant amount more than what is readily available (first proposed in Tech Trends of 2013 (and the two reasons they will fail), November 30, 2012). By providing ready access to recharging, the power needs of mobile devices could be abated without the need for the excess hardware that would otherwise be necessary.
Of course, with the multitude of manufacturers that each create multiple devices, the Yubi development needed to consider 30-pin, lightning, micro USB and other proprietary connectors. Their decision to support 80% of the devices (which would cover 97% of the smartphone market) to sit in a dock, then the few remaining could charge via a SmartUSB port; a front-facing USB would also allow tablets and devices with odd power port placement to utilize a Yubi dock. In it’s final iteration, the left port features an Apple lightning connector while the right side port has a micro-USB plug with a larger channel and a gripping mechanism that would secure most Android, Windows and BlackBerry smartphones.
With all these features going for it, there are substantial barriers for the Yubi system — we believe the largest are adoption and bureaucracy. Will Yubi be adopted into the hospitality market? Probably — the ability for bars, restaurants and others to monetize something that is otherwise nonexistent… why not? Even larger is the hurdle of red tape involved in getting Yubi into the taxis, buses and trains that could ensure success.
The single largest thing that can assist in getting Yubi to do everything it was created to (and potentially solve all those problems) is simple: they need funds. And that brings this back to the Kickstarter campaign, a substantial initial goal of $845,000 would do all the heavy lifting including getting 5,000 smart-docks out into the world in New York City. A worthwhile investment even if the only outcome is the idea of a public charging system. The Kickstarter page for the Yubi system is here (direct link) or just click the widget to the right.
[box type=”alert”]On April 3rd, the team behind Yubi cancelled the Kickstarter campaign. We will be following up with them and will report on what the future may hold for this endeavor.[/box]