Intel's 'smart bowl' wows audiences at CES

The company unveils a prototype of a bowl that can charge just about anything, no wires needed.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 8, 2014 2:16PM
Intel's smart wireless charging bowl. Photo credit: Intel Corp.By Jim Edwards, Business Insider

We've all got one: A large bowl that sits in the kitchen or the hall or the dining room where you put all the junk you don't have any other place for: keys, mail, rubber bands, matches, batteries, take-out menus, whatever.

At CES, the big tech conference in Las Vegas, Intel (INTC) unveiled a "smart bowl" that could change all that forever. 

It's a wireless charging bowl: You dump your phone, iPod, earpiece, Fitbit or any other gadget that needs a charge into it and -- boom! -- pick it out a while later and it's fully charged.

No more wires. No more jacks. No more plugs and sockets.

Your gadgets go into the bowl (probably with a bunch of other non-tech junk too) and voila! They're charged.

The irony of the announcement is that Intel CEO Brian Krzanich unveiled a bunch of new, potentially game-changing initiatives at his keynote last night: a PC the size of a golf ball called Edison and an end to the use of "conflict minerals" from African war zones in its products, among them.

But as people left the gargantuan Venetian ballroom where he gave his speech, and as Business Insider chatted with other people at CES who had been at the event, it was clear that the bowl was the thing that really caught everyone's imagination.

Basically, we're all saying the same thing: I've got a bowl full of junk in my house, and I would totally use a smart bowl if it charged my stuff while it was in there.

There's something else going on here too. While Intel's announcements were impressive, they weren't perfect. Some of them had a somewhat sinister surveillance bent to them. Intel has a smart watch coming that allows an app user to track its wearer -- like a parent tracking their kids -- for instance.

Separately, although Intel's other new devices seemed useful (like the Jarvis earpiece that can handle a conversation and manage your phone even when it's not switched on) the design wasn't great. Jarvis looks like a hearing aid, not something you'd  actually wear by choice.

The smart bowl, however, was sleekly designed, simple and useful.

Everyone seems to want one. Intel, however gave few details about it. You can read Krzanich's speech here, to see exactly what he said about it. And there are some technical specs here. But as far as we can tell, right now, it's simply a prototype and not a product.

More from Business Insider

Jan 8, 2014 4:05PM
Great concept. Intel will probably fast track the bowl based on this initial reception.
Jan 8, 2014 3:47PM
I'm going to hold off for the smart toilet bowl.  
Jan 8, 2014 6:48PM
Intel needs to find other outlets, AMD is kicking their butts on every other electronic front.
Jan 8, 2014 7:58PM
More junk nobody needs, but the idiots will always find a way to waste their money on it.
Jan 8, 2014 7:48PM
Does the puddle of mercury come with it?
Jan 8, 2014 7:48PM
I'd like to dump my rechargeable batteries in there, too. Will it take them or just devices?
Jan 8, 2014 2:58PM
Jan 8, 2014 4:35PM
Pretty smart of them to bowl us over with another user tracking gadget. 
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