The Case-Mate Hug is a wireless inductive charger, a lot like the Powermat or Palm’s Touchstone. Inductive chargers let you plop your gadget down onto a special surface for charging, rather than fiddling around with wires–and the Hug is one of the best out there.
Inductive chargers aren’t magic, however. They work via a magnetic field, but gadgets (aside from the Palm Pre Plus) don’t have the required magnetic parts, so you need to use a case. It’s a little lame, but if you were planning on using a case anyway, Case-Mate’s solution essentially adds wireless charging (which is undeniably cool) for just a bit more money.
The Hug is compatible with the iPhone 3G and 3G S only, for now–other models, including BlackBerry, will be coming out in a few months. The Hug’s got a lot of great features, like smart charging, which switches the power off once your iPhone is fully charged to conserve battery life. It’s also significantly better-looking than the Powermat, and is actually cheaper once the Powermat’s required case is factored in (about $30 cheaper at Amazon). I played with the Hug at CES this year and was very impressed with the build quality of both the case and the dock; they’ve got a nice solid heft and feel to them, and the case feels like it actually would provide some protection.
The Case-Mate Hug is available starting today online and at most retailers. The kit sells for $100, and includes the dock, case, and a screen protection kit.