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iPhone and Android wireless charger pads 2019: Which one is the best?

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Which Qi charging pad to use? (Image: Jason Perlow)


Jason Perlow

If you’re a new iPhone 11, Samsung Galaxy S10/Note 10, or Pixel 4 owner, you probably know one of the advertised features of each device is their ability to wirelessly charge. 

There are many charging pads on the market, but picking one that is optimized for your phone is not easy. We’ve narrowed it down to these four manufacturers to simplify this process for you.

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Anker (EPP Supported)

RavPower (EPP Supported)

Mophie (EPP Supported)

Belkin (EPP Supported)

All four of these manufacturers are quality, well-engineered designs, and you really cannot go wrong with any of them as an iPhone or an Android user. Why choose one over the other? How are they different? Let’s first talk about why you don’t want just any Qi pad on the market.

The 7.5W Apple wireless charging standard

When Apple released the iPhone X and iPhone 8, the company deviated from the Wireless Power Consortium Qi 1.2.X standard, which can charge at the original 5W, a higher-level 9W, or the newest 10W, 12W and 15W used by Samsung. 

Apple chose 7.5W for its Qi implementation rather than go with 9W, 10W, or 15W. There is no apparent reason why it decided to do this, and to date, it hasn’t said anything about it, but if its cancellation of the AirPower charging mat in 2019 is of any indication, my guess is it may have something to do with heat.

That means, while many inexpensive Qi chargers you can buy on the internet advertise “fast charge,” if you use them with your new iPhone, the best they are going to do is the lowest common denominator, which is 5W.

We found this out the hard way with a large number of low-priced Chinese charging pucks. They cannot charge current generation iPhones at native 7.5W speeds; they can only do it at 5W, so buyer beware.

But 5W charging isn’t horrible — it will work fine for overnight use. It’s as good as you are going to get with the supplied OEM Apple lightning cable and the included charger on the base-level iPhone 11, but it’s a far cry from 7.5W or even the native fast-charge speeds using the Apple OEM USB-C to Lightning cable and a USB-C fast charger.

AirPods and Apple Watch

You’ve probably noticed that your Airpods and other Bluetooth headphones (such as Anker’s SoundCore Liberty Pro 2, Google’s upcoming Pixel Buds, and Microsoft’s Surface Earbuds) may have wireless charging cases, and your Apple Watch also has a magnetic charging connector. Can you use just any charging pad to charge them? The answer is, maybe. Possibly.

4-m2-roc-3in1-wireless-charging-pad-3.jpg

Mophie 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Pad


Mophie

While the AirPods charging case uses Qi, there’s no guarantee that a third-party charger is going to mate correctly with it unless it is specially designed for it.

Additionally, the Apple Watch itself doesn’t use Qi; it uses its special magnetic connector. That’s why several manufacturers, such as Belkin and Mophie, have made 2-in-1 and 3-in-1 charging docks to support the iPhone, the AirPods, and the Apple Watch, simultaneously. Apple attempted to create a 3-in-1 pad to support all three products, the AirPower, but it failed to launch the product due to difficult engineering issues.

The 15W Samsung Fast Charge 2.0 standard

In addition to the 10W Qi standard embraced by the S8 and the S9 and the Note 8 and Note 9, Samsung’s latest 15W Fast Wireless Charge 2.0 standard is supported by the S10, S10+, Note10, and Note10+. However, most charging pads on the market do not support this faster speed. Anker’s PowerWave 15 supports this with a high-capacity USB-C wall charger, but it’s one of the very few that does aside from Samsung’s OEM wireless chargers. We suggest that if you have one of these newer Samsung devices, that you buy either the Anker PowerWave 15 or the OEM Samsung 2.0 15W charger stand.

Google Pixel 4 and Extended Power Profile

Google’s Pixel 3 was unable to achieve wireless charging above 5W unless you used the Google Pixel Stand. For Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, things have improved somewhat, but you’ll still need to be a bit pickier and choose a wireless charger that supports the Extended Power Profile standard — also commonly referred to as EPP. Most of the new wireless chargers should be outfitted with EPP, but older models likely don’t support it. You’ll want to look at the specifications of the product to be sure that it does. Google’s Pixel Stand absolutely will charge the phone at native speeds, as will the products noted above.

The official website for the Wireless Power Consortium (the organization that manages the standards for wireless charging) has a list of all the products that are approved to use the Qi standard, and you can use EPP as a filter to find the product you are looking for.

Can I retrofit my old iPhone/Android?

You can buy any number of charging sleeves or receivers to retrofit an older iPhone or an Android that does not have built-in wireless charging. I’ve seen them as cheap as $5 and up to $15, such as the Cloele, which I had some good success with using my wife’s old iPhone 7+ and an OtterBox Defender case and inserting it between the rubber backing and the plastic.

However, be aware the best you are going to be able to do is around 800mAh to 1,000mAh. Because your phone has not been designed for this, you may experience heat issues — mainly because the distance between the coils and the charger base will not be the same as a phone that has this built-in, so alignment will not be ideal.

Every case has different thickness and heat exchange characteristics, and not all receiver coils behave the same, so your mileage is going to vary. How have your Qi charging adventures gone with your new iPhone or your Samsung device? Talk Back and Let Me Know.



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5 tips for brands that want to succeed in the new era of influencer marketing – TechCrunch

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If I told you a decade ago that a spin bike would be a social community, you’d have had a good laugh. But that’s precisely what Peloton is: A spin bike with a social community where the instructors are the influencers.

Peloton is just one example of how social is being integrated into every aspect of the customer experience in an increasingly digital world. Whether it’s considering a new restaurant to check out, a movie to see or a product to buy, most people look at reviews before making a final decision. They want social proof as an indicator of quality and relevance.

Influencers are a natural byproduct of this desire for social validation, and as social permeates the customer journey, creators have become an essential source of validation and trust.

Influencers are a natural byproduct of this desire for social validation, and as social permeates the customer journey, creators have become an essential source of validation and trust. Indeed, social validation is what social platforms are built on, so it’s a significant component of how we derive relevance online — and the deeper integration of social is changing the dynamic between brands and digital creators.

The shifting economy of creator monetization

Brand sponsorships are the holy grail for creators hoping to monetize their online influence. According to an eMarketer report, brand partnerships are still the No. 1 source of revenue for most digital creators.

However, digital creators have a lot more monetization options to choose from, thanks to Patreon, affiliate platforms, paid content platforms and platform revenue sharing, making it easier to earn a living without relying so heavily on brand sponsorships.


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As a result, creators are diversifying their revenue streams, which, for some creators, allows them to be more selective about the brands they work with. What’s more, creators aren’t reliant on just one channel or one form of revenue.

YouTube creators probably have the most diversified revenue, often combining brand sponsorships, subscription models, affiliate deals, tipping/donations, their line of branded products and revenue share. However, it’s important to note that not all monetization options apply to every creator. But with so many options to choose from, making a living as a digital creator is more accessible than ever.

Here are a few of the ways online creators can monetize their content:

Ad revenue sharing: Advertising is the most traditional form of revenue for online creators. With this model, ads are injected into and around the creator’s content, and they make a certain percentage of revenue based on impressions. However, the revenue split can vary based on the platform, and some platforms have a specific threshold creators must hit before they can participate in ad revenue sharing.

Affiliate marketing: Similar to advertising or a brand sponsorship, affiliate marketing is an agreement for a share of revenue based on products sold. This kind of arrangement generally works best when the creator has a blog, website or YouTube account. Affiliate links allow the influencer to proactively choose the products they want to talk about and earn from, rather than having to wait for a brand deal to come their way.

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Instagram’s TikTok rival, Reels, rolls out ads worldwide – TechCrunch

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Instagram Reels are getting ads. The company announced today it’s launching ads in its short-form video platform and TikTok rival, Reels, to businesses and advertisers worldwide. The ads will be up to 30 seconds in length, like Reels themselves, and vertical in format, similar to ads found in Instagram Stories. Also like Reels, the new ads will loop, and people will be able to like, comment, and save them, the same as other Reels videos.

The company had previously tested Reels ads in select markets earlier this year, including India, Brazil, Germany, and Australia, then expanded those tests to Canada, France, the U.K. and the U.S. more recently. Early adopters of the new format have included brands like BMW, Nestlé (Nespresso), Louis Vuitton, Netflix, Uber, and others.

Instagram tells us the ads will appear in most places users view Reels content, including on the Reels tab, Reels in Stories, Reels in Explore, and Reels in your Instagram Feed, and will appear in between individual Reels posted by users. However, in order to be served a Reels ad, the user first needs to be in the immersive, full-screen Reels viewer.

Image Credits: Instagram

The company couldn’t say how often a user might see a Reels ad, noting that the number of ads a viewer may encounter will vary based on how they use Instagram. But the company is monitoring user sentiment around ads themselves, and the overall commercially of Reels, it says.

Like Instagram’s other advertising products, Reels ads will launch with an auction-based model. But so far, Instagram is declining to share any sort of performance metrics around how those ads are doing, based on tests. Nor is it yet offering advertisers any creator tools or templates that could help them get started with Reels ads. Instead, Instagram likey assumes advertisers already have creative assets on hand or know how to make them, because of Reels ads’ similarities to other vertical video ads found elsewhere, including on Instagram’s competitors.

While vertical video has already shown the potential for driving consumers to e-commerce shopping sites, Instagram hasn’t yet taken advantage of Reels ads to drive users to its built-in Instagram Shops, though that seems like a natural next step as it attempts to tie the different parts of its app together.

But perhaps ahead of that step, Instagram needs to make Reels a more compelling destination — something other TikTok rivals, which now include both Snap and YouTube — have done by funding creator content directly. Instagram, meanwhile, had made offers to select TikTok stars directly.

The launch of Instagram Reels ads follows news of TikTok’s climbing ad prices. Bloomberg reported this month that TikTok is now asking for more than $1.4 million for a home page takeover ad in the U.S., as of the third quarter, which will jump to $1.8 million by Q4 and more than $2 million on a holiday. Though the company is still building its ads team and advertisers haven’t yet allocated large portions of their video budget to the app, that tends to follow user growth — and TikTok now has over 100 million monthly active users in the U.S.

Both apps, Instagram and TikTok, now have over a billion monthly active users on a global basis, though Reels is only a part of the larger Instagram platform. For comparison, Instagram Stories is used by some 500 million users, which demonstrates Instagram’s ability to drive traffic to different areas of its app. Instagram declined to share how many users Reels has as of today.

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Twine raises $3.3M to add networking features to virtual events – TechCrunch

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Twine, a video chat startup that launched amid the pandemic as a sort of “Zoom for meeting new people,” shifted its focus to online events and, as a result, has now closed on $3.3 million in seed funding. To date, twine’s events customers have included names like Microsoft, Amazon, Forrester, and others, and the service is on track to do $1 million in bookings in 2021, the company says.

The new round was led by Moment Ventures, and included participation from Coelius Capital, AltaIR Capital, Mentors Fund, Rosecliff Ventures, AltaClub, and Bloom Venture Partners. Clint Chao, founding Partner at Moment, will join twine’s board of directors with the round’s close.

The shift into the online events space makes sense, given twine’s co-founders —  Lawrence Coburn, Diana Rau, and Taylor McLoughlin — hail from DoubleDutch, the mobile events technology provider acquired by Cvent in 2019.

Coburn, previously CEO of DoubleDutch, had been under a non-compete with its acquirer until December 2020, which is one reason why he didn’t first attempt a return to the events space.

The team’s original idea was to help people who were missing out on social connections under Covid lockdowns find a way to meet others and chat online. This early version of twine saw some small amount of traction, as 10% of its users were even willing to pay. But many more were nervous about being connected to random online strangers, twine found.

So the company shifted its focus to the familiar events space, with a specific focus on online events which grew in popularity due to the pandemic. While setting up live streams, text chats and Q&A has been possible, what’s been missing from many online events was the casual and unexpected networking that used to happen in-person.

“The hardest thing to bring to virtual events was the networking and the serendipity — like the conversations that used to happen in an elevator, in the bar, the lobby — these kinds of things,” explains Coburn. “So we began testing a group space version of twine — bringing twine to existing communities as opposed to trying to build our own, new community. And that showed a lot more legs,” he says.

By January 2021, the new events-focused version of twine was up-and-running, offering a set of professional networking tools for event owners. Unlike one-to-many or few-to-many video broadcasts, twine connects a small number of people for more intimate conversations.

“We did a lot of research with our customers and users, and beyond five [people in a chat], it turns into a webinar,” notes Coburn, of the limitations on twine’s video chat. In twine, a small handful of people are dropped into a video chat experience– and now, they’re not random online strangers. They’re fellow event attendees. That generally keeps user behavior professional and the conversations productive.

Event owners can use the product for free on twine’s website for small events with up to 30 users, but to scale up any further requires a license. Twine charges on a per attendee basis, where customers buy packs of attendees on a software-as-a-service model.

The company’s customers can then embed twine directly in their own website or add a link that pops open the twine website in a separate browser tab.

Coburn says twine has found a sweet spot with big corporate event programs. The company has around 25 customers, but some of those have already used twine for 10 or 15 events after first testing out the product for something smaller.

“We’re working with five or six of the biggest companies in the world right now,” noted Coburn.

Image Credits: twine

Because the matches are digital, twine can offer other tools like digital “business card” exchanges and analytics and reports for the event hosts and attendees alike.

Despite the cautious return to normal in the U.S., which may see in-person events return in the year ahead, twine believes there’s still a future in online events. Due to the pandemic’s lasting impacts, organizations are likely to adopt a hybrid approach to their events going forward.

“I don’t think there’s ever been an industry that has gone through a 15 months like the events industry just went through,” Coburn says. “These companies went to zero, their revenue went to zero and some of them were coming from hundreds of millions of dollars. So what happened was a digital transformation like the world has never seen,” he adds.

Now, there are tens of thousands of event planners who have gotten really good at tech and online events. And they saw the potential in online, which would sometimes deliver 4x or 5x the attendance of virtual, Coburn points out.

“This is why you see LinkedIn drop $50 million on Hopin,” he says, referring to the recent fundraise for the virtual conference technology business. (The deal was reportedly for less than $50 million). “This is why you see the rounds of funding that are going into Hoppin and Bizzabo and Hubilo and all the others. This is the taxi market, pre-Uber.”

Of course, virtual events may end up less concerned with social features when they can offer an in-person experience. And those who want to host online events may be looking for a broader solution than Zoom + twine, for example.

But twine has ideas about what it wants to do next, including asynchronous matchmaking, which could end up being more valuable as it could lead to better matches since it wouldn’t be limited to only who’s online now.

With the funding, twine is hiring in sales and customer success, working on accessibility improvements, and expanding its platform. To date, twine has raised $4.7 million.

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