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November 12, 2014

Smarter charging and notifications in a new light

Designed to take the wireless charger into uncharted territory, this second-generation wireless charging plate is the perfect Lumia companion.

Announced in Berlin in September, the Wireless Charging Plate DT-903 has two main benefits. By way of clever ‘ambient’ light notifications, it will tell you when your Lumia is low on battery or when you have a new notification, such as an instant message, phone call or email.

Sanda Berar is the Head of Connected Gadgets at Microsoft and Simone Leggio is Lead Program Manager, Connectivity Software Program Management. We spoke to both of them to discuss this new breed of charging device.

Conversations: The wireless charging plate feels like a real step forward in terms of what’s possible for charging devices. How smart is it?

Simone: The real smartness comes from it being the first wireless charger to talk to your phone. Rather than waiting for you to remember, it will actually invite you to charge your Lumia. The interaction between the phone and the plate is enabled by Bluetooth Low Energy technology (Bluetooth LE). There’s nothing else like it.


It does this by way of clever ‘ambient’ light notifications, built into the plate, which glow when your Lumia is low on battery. When your phone is placed on the plate, the light will indicate that charging is happening.

Using the same ambient light notifications, the charger will display a light pattern when you have a new instant message, phone call or email.

C: Is there a limit to how many applications will work with the device?

Simone: There’s a long list of applications to choose from, such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Skype, allowing the consumer to pick the most relevant ones to them. We’ve designed this charger to be as personal as possible.

C: What will your Lumia need to work with the device?

S: Your Lumia will need to be wireless-charging enabled and Bluetooth LE compatible (such as the Lumia 830); use the Device Hub app to manage the notification operations.

Device Hub comes pre-loaded in all Lumias, so you don’t need to install it. You will, however, need to ensure that you have updated your Lumia to the latest software version. So check in your Updates!

It’s really easy to use; just connect the phone to the charger, open the Device Hub app, and choose the applications whose notifications you wish to send to the device from the dedicated settings page.


C: Tell us about how the notification-engine technology works with the Fatboy Lamp concept.

S: This is an exciting project that we demoed in our event in Berlin on 4th September. We’ve worked together with Fatboy, a popular design company, and BlueGiga, a Bluetooth module maker, to craft this great showcase of what Bluetooth technologies can enable.

We’ve taken an existing Fatboy product, the Edison Petit lamp, and made it work together with our Lumia phones. It’s very similar to how the wireless charging plate works – when you have new notifications, the lamp will blink.

In essence, the Smart Bluetooth module from Bluegiga that we’ve embedded in the lamp talks to Windows Phone, making the lamp smart.

Third parties can develop their own notification accessory and related application. All they need is the BT LE chipset supporting the notification and APIs to be able to connect to the chipset.

The chipset can be obtained contacting BlueGiga; more info on the needed APIs for SW development can be obtained by sending a mail to this address.

We think this is a great showcase of how everyday products with no prior linkage to mobile technology can get new functionalities.

Dearest readers, where else could you see this technology being used? Any ideas? Let us know, below…