Out of the box, the only way to charge the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con is by attaching them to the console and connecting the Switch to its AC adapter. Sure, you can purchase the $30 charge grip or a Joy-Con docking station, but neither of these options allow you to keep gaming with a single Joy-Con (i.e., when playing local multiplayer with friends and family). That’s where the Powercast Wireless Charging Grips come into play. On display at CES 2019, the charging grips deliver true wireless charging to single Joy-Con without forcing you to take a break.
The single Joy-Con grips look similar to ones currently sold by numerous third-party accessory companies. The Joy-Con slides into a shell to turn it into a more traditional looking controller, complete with the trigger buttons found on the attachable Joy-Con strap. Inside the grip, however, is what Powercast calls the Powerharvester receiver, along with a battery. The grips receive over-the-air charging from the PowerSpot transmitter that’s plugged into an outlet.
Once the signal is detected, an LED light on the grip illuminates, letting you know that the Joy-Con is currently charging. It uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology to determine when a charge is needed, only powering the grips when the backup battery isn’t depleted.
At this time, the transmitter’s range only covers about two feet. Still, if you keep the grips charged, it’s unlikely you’ll run out of Joy-Con juice very often. Coupled with the Joy-Con already impressive battery life, Powercast’s charging grip will keep each controller going for about 38 hours.
In addition to the single Joy-Con grips, Powercast will also release a standard two Joy-Con grip with the technology that mirrors the one included with the Switch.
The most interesting aspect about Powercast’s wireless charging technology is that the transmitter figures to be future-proof. In the press release, Powercast said its goal is to make the transmitter work at longer distances (80 feet) with up to 30 devices at one time.
Powercast plans on releasing the Joy-Con charging grips and transmitter later this year. Prices haven’t been set, but each of the three products will be sold individually or as a bundle.