Wireless charging, already phased out or reinvented?

| May 14, 2013 | 46 Replies

700-1-wireless-charging

Wireless charging, it was pretty much the best thing since sliced bread when it was introduced in the Lumia 820 and 920 late last year. Since then things seem to have changed a bit, wireless charging is still pretty well represented in Nokia products and accessories, yet it seems phones aren’t coming with it built in anymore. Does this mean Wireless Charging is dead or is it a golden move?

It is pretty much a given that wireless charging adds some bulk to our phones, the 820 has a separate cover that is slightly thicker and the 920 is both a little chubby in thickness but also in terms of weight. In order to create slimmer, and above all, lighter devices Nokia chose to discard inbuilt charging on the 720 and now the 925 as well. This move has arguably led to the far slimmer profiles of both devices and even led to Tom Warren calling the 720 the best Lumia body to date.

‘Let’s face it, wireless charging won’t be used by everyone.’

With wireless charging having taken a back seat in the most recent devices (bar the Verizon bound Lumia 928) where does this leave us? Well, Nokia has chosen to create separate covers that enable wireless charging. The only tell-tale sign are the three dots on the back of the 925 and 720. While it seems a stupefying idea on the surface, it is actually one of the best ideas ever.

Let’s face it, wireless charging won’t be used by everyone. So having the capability built in can be like hauling around deadweight for many people. That is where Nokia’s golden move comes in, create separate covers. ‘How is that a golden move?’ you might ask.

Look around you and see how many people have their phones wrapped in protective cases that serve no other purpose than protection. From Otterboxes to the highly flimsy Galaxy model units (those with the foldaround screen cover) Nokia made sure that not only a cover protects your phone, it also adds functionality. And that is the golden move, still offer wireless charging but add the protection of a case and the ability to express oneself with a colourful snap on cover.

Lumia_925_charging_cover_red_yellow

Image via @mobilenova

From the info that is available now, the cover for the Lumia 925 adds minimal thickness to the overall phone and not much more than any conventional cover/case would.

At a rumoured price of 29 euros it isn’t highly expensive either, the real wallet gouger is in the charger itself which starts at 60-ish euros for the DT900 charging plate.

 

Category: Nokia

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  • mushfiq

    Nice way to hide the camera hump.

    • stylinred

      speaking of which i wonder if Huawei is going to sue Nokia because of that style of hump

      • http://www.ohos.me Mahmoud

        Or perhaps Apple for the around the device antenna :D

    • Santeri Hiitola

      Yah, thought of that myself :D they shoould also make covers that are so slim that they only hide that hump, and sametime FULLY changes the color. Not a big fan of that corner grab design

  • Bloob

    Maybe wireless charging would be more widely used if the charging pads wouldn’t cost an arm, a leg, and ten golden teeth.

    • et3rnal

      +1

  • mark

    I think this is less about the wireless charging and more about giving customers the ability to customize their devices.

    I bet they found that more people would rather a bland phone where they can swap out bright color cases. I know I prefer that.

    • rishabh

      That cover for 925 is so mismatched. No one is going to use it as a protective cover. And people will have to swap it on everytime they charge. Which makes it lame. As it takes same efforts as to plugging a cable in. No point of wireless charging when it is not effortless

  • javid

    I wonder… if Qi is being abandoned by other manufacturers that Nokia too is seeing the writing on the wall and perhaps laying the ground for moving to either Power Matters Alliance (PMA) or Alliance For Wireless Power(A4WP) instead?
    The way i understand it, the difference is the frequency and the coil size.
    Both of these could be changed with a different cover, no?
    Thoughts?

    • Symbianitta

      It will be interesting to see what kind of wireless charging technology Apple will be using if they start to utilize that technology.

      While Apple doesn’t necessarily make compatible products, they do have lots of volume once they start shipping. That may affect other manufacturers with a smaller installed base.

      That is, if they start pushing wireless charging. It’s a big if.

    • Vineet

      Spot on. Qi was the winning standard some time ago but now its being superseded. PMA and A4WP with Witricity and MRC (magnetic resonance charging) are looking much further ahead.

      Currently Qi charging is very much a half gimmick.

      It gives you:
      1) Convenience + Cool factor

      but with several disadvantages:

      1) Slower charging
      2) Expensive
      3) Makes phone thicker
      4) Makes phone heavier
      5) Cannot use and charge at the same time
      6) Not easily available in all places so have to carry cable anyway

      The new modular approach allows them to shift the ecosystem over to a new standard very quickly by just changing the covers.

      Right now it is DESIRABLE for there not to be a clear standard established since the tech is still in its infancy and the players are innovating and moving in different directions. Standardising at this early stage might kill innovation.

      • John

        ” 5) Cannot use and charge at the same time”
        Doing just that right now and it work’s fine on my Nokia L920. :-)

  • Stuart

    I hope Nokia doesn’t abandon wireless charging. Perhaps their inclusion of a wireless charging cover is part of their strategy about accessories. With the 3D printing cover specifications for the 820 perhaps they will start to realize that different covers can add different features and also keep the base cost of the device down. Also, perhaps some of the covers and cases that people were putting on their 920 was interfering with the wireless charging capabilities?

  • rishabh

    Lumia 925 should at least had waterproof coating. So many days after lumia 920 release, you are releasing the same specs. This shows waste of efforts. There should be something new. Its like they were so desperate to prove that we can also make slim phone.

  • Mark

    Including wireless charging at the expense of making it too heavy was a dumb move by Nokia. Thanks heaven they’ve seen sense here.

  • erzhik

    Wireless charging is not being phased out. What’s happening right now (at least I think so) is that due to the different standards right now and Qi being a minority in that war, Nokia is looking at which standard gets accepted before adopting it fully.

  • http://weibo.com/nokia171 AIKON

    Since I bought Lumia 920, I haven’t used wired charging. I hope in the future Nokia can launch every high-end smartphones with two variants: one is non-wireless charging with larger battery, the other is wireless-charging with smaller battery.

  • Janne

    Nokia built wireless charging into 920 to establish leadership in this area and to have the most innovative package they can. Now that that’s clearly done, they can offer other options as well.

    Wireless charging isn’t going anywhere. It is marvellous.

    • D Harries

      Well said.

    • Symbianitta

      While it’s nice to pioneer with wireless charging, it’s not very good if they are changing standards. They should have been using one good tech and stick with it.

    • nn

      Yeah, like with 808 PureView. Here it is, take a notice that we can do it and we are the kings, now close your eyes, we are going to drop it and you won’t see it from us for a long time.

      Or like with the whole switch. Just remove all the innovations so we can spend next several years slowly trickling some of them back. It’s the only way to give people options!

      • Symbianitta

        Focusing on Symbian and MeeGo would have killed Nokia.

        Now you have more options.

        You should be happy about that.

        • noki

          Now you have more options.????????? wow

          • Symbianitta

            Of course if Nokia was no more.

            I know we had that nice talk about the sales figures MeeGo could have had, but I still think that you had way too high YoY growth rates. It’s very hard to find that kind of growth rates from anyone. Even Apple wasn’t able to do that and MeeGo was certainly not equal to iOS.

            Do you have any examples of sustained (over 500% YoY) growth rates? Nokia would have needed something like that if they wanted so pour in the cash for developing MeeGo and sustaining Symbian during the transition.

      • Janne

        What the heck are you guys on. Just last Friday Nokia released Lumia 928 with built-in Qi wireless charging. Today they announced Lumia 925 with snap-on wireless charging to become the what seventh or eight (!) Lumia in less than 10 months with wireless Qi charging, not counting letter variants of Lumia. Other standards are pure speculation at this point.

        I want the stuff you are smoking. No, wait, I’d rather not. Reality tastes sweet enough.

        Nokia has Lumia 920 and 928 out there. Today saw a slimmer variant arrive for certain markets and operators, to cater for ever wider array of tastes. Nokia does that you know. Multiple models…

        As for 808, it is true it was a technology leadership demo too. But also its circumstances were wholly different too, as was the breadth of its appeal. We’ll see EOS later.

        • nn

          Wireless charging was supposed to be killer feature, ushering new age of Elop’s innovations. The fact that they are forced to introduce top phone without it shows it’s not killer feature at all and that great many people don’t like this implementation of wireless charging.

          Of course they are not going to drop it entirely, they invested too much PR into it and they can’t admit failure. The best you can hope is they have significantly better implementation and that they can introduce it to the market fast (which, given the way things are going under WP/Elop, is precisely what won’t happen).

          • Janne

            Again, just last Friday Nokia introduced wireless charging in 928. This week 925 with the snap-on option.

            Let’s discuss this again if we actually see Nokia wavering on their focus on wireless charging. So far I don’t see that happening at all.

            As for a killer feature? I don’t know where you got that. It is one aspect of Nokia’s wide feature-set that at this time they are leading the market with. Others will follow.

            • Marshall

              Okay! Now to change the topic a bit. Any chance we’ll see the option of random theme changing of the tile colors? It would be cool to see all the different colors at different times. Just a passing thought sitting here at the Star Trek opener.

            • nn

              They just did by creating phone without built-in wireless charging, not surprised that you don’t see it. But let me know when they focus their focus for example on imagining by introducing top phone without camera, you know, to give people more options. Camera is just one aspect of wide Nokia’s feature set anyway.

              • Janne

                You think Nokia is wavering on their commitment on wireless charging, just because their latest phone has it as a snap-on option? Wow.

                That suggests you think Nokia somehow changed their minds. To me it simply suggests they took the opportunity to create differentiation in their third Lumia 920 carrier/market variant. Slimness is required by some, so they made a variant that offers that option. And to me it seems like the option is being welcomed by tech media at least.

                Two thirds of the Lumia 920 variants (three quarters if you count 920T) have built-in wireless charging. One has a snap-on option. NONE are without.

                Wavering? I’d say claiming that is quite a wild stretch.

                As for your weird camera reference, I think this applies to cameras as well. Nokia creates phones with various levels of camera capability because people, markets, carriers etc. have different needs. A snap-on camera doesn’t seem like a practical proposition, but why not if it were to make sense. I wouldn’t see that as wavering from their commitment to imaging in any way.

                • nn

                  Could you explain why no camera on 920 with snap on option isn’t practical proposition? It would give people more choices, some tech blogs would love it, it would make absolutely no signal about any problems with imagining tech at Nokia and how market looks at it… I mean it’s all upsides, right?

                  In future wireless charging will be as indispensable feature as camera. The problem is with the implementation Nokia has, it only adds weight, thickness, costs quite a lot of money and in the end has as much utility as any cheap dock. This move admits that, although due to the hype that was made around Lumia and wireless charging there needs to be denial about it just to save a face.

                  • Janne

                    Oh dear.

                    I do agree with you that this move certainly acknowledges the fact that current implementations of wireless charging add thickness and weight! How could the thinness move not acknowledge that? They want to provide a thinner option and this is one way to do it. I haven’t seen Nokia be at all coy about this now or in the past. They have included wireless charging as *option* in most models (outside of 920) where they have done it and we know Nokia even had a big internal debate before 920 launch whether or not include it built-in. So, Nokia is trying different kinds of things for different models, that is not wavering, that is providing options.

                    I also agree than an optional wireless charging cover, especially one that can act as an easily replaceable protective shell, sounds like a very nice idea. Those who want it can get it, those who want thinness can get that too. I wouldn’t have any issues sporting a Lumia 925 with a wireless charging cover of my choice. I don’t expect to, since I already have the Lumia 920, but would I buy a 925, I would also buy the cover. Wireless charging rocks and I’m glad I can use it today (I use it every day as my only charging type), not some years in the future.

                    You are just creating controversy where there is none. Wireless charging isn’t perfect, but Nokia certainly is backing it far more than any other company. And continues to do so after this launch, obviously. And I don’t see Nokia making this about the standards either, they are certainly backing Qi like many, many industry players, but I don’t see any reason they couldn’t move to another technology if need be.

                    I just don’t think the 925 has anything to do with any of this stuff. It is just a variant of the 920 for different tastes. One way to create variance was thinness and they went for that.

                    It’s all about Nokia bashing for you these days, isn’t it.

                    I don’t even have a clue anymore what your point is, but it doesn’t really matter does it.

                    I’ll go enjoy my wireless charging.

                    • nn

                      Perhaps if you tried to think about why snap on camera isn’t such a good idea and why Nokia isn’t doing that, you would understand the point better.

  • D Harries

    Now you can add colour, and they’ve kept the sides free for crisp and direct button action.

  • johan

    Today’s event was a disgrace. 2011 specs and flagship price. Just hope Nokia will survive long enough as a company to release the EOS…

    • Janne

      I’ll grant you 2012 specs since this is just a Lumia 920 carrier variant, but 2011… Come on. Be serious.

      • arts

        soon enough it revisioned to 2009 specs. ;)

    • D Harries

      But, say the same thing another way. Nokia have just released some finely tuned products

      The 925 is cool

  • Mike

    I agree with the author. I wasn’t thrilled with the cover design, but it’s starting to grow on me. What’s the point of having a good looking phone if you are going to cover it up? I’d think on a night out when you want to show off a bit, the cover design encourages one to take it off and go “naked”.

  • shallow ocean shoal

    I am looking forward to Nokia creating a mini household tesla coil so that I can power my phone all over the house all the time

  • Marshall

    I just don’t get it. The wireless charging is an awesome feature. Don’t mess it. And what is the obsession over thinner and lighter phones? When pocket cell phones hit the market everyone wanted more, bigger. Now we have more, bigger, everyone wants thinner lighter. I think the 920 is the perfect size for a smartphone. I wouldn’t want bigger or smaller or thinner. A phone should have some weight to it. Its great to push ourselves technologically but at some point we need to be practical. My name is Marshall and I love my Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8.

    • Symbianitta

      People just want to have thinner phones. They just have to find a way to implement wireless charging without making the phone too thick.

      808 was too thick because Nokia misplaced the camera. It should have been thinner. And it could have been thinner.

      • Ztuka

        with the fm gransmitter it could.lose some thickness..i would love to see a 808 pureview with 4G, supersensitive screen and the OIS. Bluetooth on latest tehnique makes fmtransmitter a wazte of space….in the car you can have a cable handy just in case you want to play from the phone…

    • DesR85

      I remember that ever since iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phones became popular, that’s where the obsession for thinner and lighter phones come about and other manufacturers like HTC followed suit. I let my cousin who owns a One X handle my L920 and he complained of how ‘heavy’ the latter is. Given that the former is lighter, I’m not surprised why.

      Personally, like you, I do not subscribe to that line of thinking either. When I played around with both the S2 and the Nexus 4 a while back, I didn’t like the build quality of either of them. Doesn’t feel solid when compared to either Sony or Nokia phones.

  • Ztuka

    Highly overrated feature in my opinion. The only excellent charger is Nokia JBL Powerup which has superaudio and actually makes sence to buy. The other wireless chargers is way to expensive also. Powerup can be bought for euro 240.

    • Symbianitta

      920′s wireless charging is overrated as long as it’s not popular and available in various locations.