Wireless charging is being introduced to the smartphone industry at a surprisingly sluggish pace. The ability to inductively charge a device by transferring energy between two objects without the need to fumble with wires is an attractive idea that seemed to take off just a few short years ago; yet, here we are in 2015 and it looks like the idea isn’t really “taking off” as well as we hoped. Only a handful of gadgets utilize the feature.
I was thoroughly impressed with the Palm Pre’s ability to charge via inductive charging with the Touchstone accessory. It seemed futuristic and, for overnight charging, relatively hassle free. The next time I would really hear anything about wireless charging would be with the release of the Nokia Lumia 920 and 820. When I heard that Google and LG were also making use of wireless charging in the Nexus 4, I was sure that it was soon to become an industry standard.
But I was wrong, and at this point I find it disappointing.
Aside from the 4 previously mentioned devices, you have a select few phones that feature wireless charging. Among the most notable would be the the original Google/LG Nexus 5, the Google/Motorola Nexus 6, Apple Watch, and the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.
It’s interesting, because both Google and Apple included the feature in other products, yet neither felt that the technology was important for their recently announced flagships.
"We added Qi wireless charging starting with N4 because plugging in USB micro B was such a hassle! (Which way is up!?) With this year’s Nexii, we support USB Type-C, which has a reversible connector, so there’s no more guessing. AND it charges incredibly swiftly: 1 percent to 100 percent in 97 mins on the 6P for example (the first ~45 mins of charging is especially fast). Meanwhile, wireless charging adds z (thickness). So, ease of plugging in + fast charging + optimizing for thinness made us double down on Type-C instead of wireless!"
So, to summarize: USB micro B’s two different sides were apparently so confusing we needed the alternative method, but wireless charging made the phone too thick.
I have two problems with these answers.
First of all, the answer makes it seem like wireless charging needs to be an either/or type of deal, and it doesn’t. I’ve expressed more than once how beneficial it is to have a secondary back-up method of charging a phone. Inductive charging is a noninvasive and easy way to get the job done. And yes, although the method is certainly slower than the speedy USB Type-C that’s touted in these devices, it’s good enough for overnight charging (when most people charge their phones anyway).
As for increasing the thickness of the device, I don’t think I have once ever heard anybody recently complain that their phone was too thick. I didn’t see a sea of complaints that their Nexus 5 or Nexus 6 was too thick. Also, I don’t think anybody wished that the phone was only marginally thinner at the expensive of losing wireless charging capabilities.
I’m also surprised (and disappointed) that Apple didn’t include wireless charging this year, as it just seems like a missed opportunity in general. Think of all of the crushed dreams that now stem from people not being able to charge their new Apple iPhone via their wireless charging table from IKEA (and no, wireless charging IKEA furniture apparently wasn't the push that got wireless charging going).
I know it’s not a feature that everybody is clamoring to get, but I really do feel that wireless charging is one of the unsung heroes of the mobile world. It’s a useful enough feature to where it really should be a standard by now.