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Google Nexus Gets Wireless Charger 223

Posted by timothy
from the just-lay-still dept.
judgecorp writes "Wireless charging has had little success so far (except for toothbrushes) but Google is giving it a good try, with a Nexus Wireless Charger that works with LG's Nexus 4 and 5 as well as the latest version of Google's tablet, the second generation Nexus 7. The charger operates using the Qi standard, which seems to be ahead of rival Powermat."
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Google Nexus Gets Wireless Charger

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  • by i kan reed (749298) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @12:53PM (#45482883) Homepage Journal

    You magnetically drop your device into place onto a block on a power cord. Instead of plugging the power cord into your device. The actual distinction in convenience is a half a second of fiddling per day.

    • by FunkyELF (609131) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @12:55PM (#45482909)

      It wears out your port. I wish these phones came with tethered but removable inserts for charging.
      My brother for example works in a pizza restaurant... he gets flour stuck up his charger all the time and has to pick it out.

      • by umafuckit (2980809) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @01:18PM (#45483141)
        In most usage scenarios, pizza restaurants excepted, I doubt "worn out charging port" is going to be the reason you ultimately stop using the phone. I don't think I've ever had a device fail due to the charging port. For most people, wireless charging is a nice luxury rather than a genuinely useful feature.
        • by timeOday (582209)
          I would LOVE to have wireless charging on my Garmin GPS watch. The problem is the contacts get gummed up by sweaty grit, until it won't charge, reliably or at all. It's a persistent problem for many people with this type of device [garmin.com].
          • Small devices like watches and bluetooth headsets and their ilk are precisely where I'd love to have wireless charging the most ... although also the hardest to line up properly.

        • by hawguy (1600213)

          In most usage scenarios, pizza restaurants excepted, I doubt "worn out charging port" is going to be the reason you ultimately stop using the phone. I don't think I've ever had a device fail due to the charging port. For most people, wireless charging is a nice luxury rather than a genuinely useful feature.

          I think that people that don't find wireless charging to be useful and convenient are people that don't use wireless chargers.

          It's nice to keep a wireless charger on my desk at work, I can drop my phone on it, then grab it when I go to a meeting without fear of forgetting to unplug it and dragging the power strip it's plugged into across my desk.

          Likewise, a charger on the bedroom dresser means that I can just put the phone on there when I go to bed to keep it charged - no need to fumble with cables in the d

        • Modern day, that's true. The problem was largely resolved with the adoption of MicroUSB for most charge cables. Micro was designed to put most of the stress of plugging and unplugging the device on the cheap, easily replaceable cable, instead of the phone's internals. Makes a big difference.
        • My PSP's USB charging port wore out... that annoyed me greatly. Luckily it had a traditional plug-in option as well.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          Here's a "genuine" use for you. I use my phone in my car for traffic, navigation and audio. I can use Bluetooth for sound but need to plug the charger in. With a wireless charger for my phone I could just popit iinto the dock and go

        • by symbolset (646467) *
          I have 5 dead Android tablets. 4 are dead because of charging port abuse. Kids aren't particularly mindful of good care of delicate electronics. So wireless charging will definitely help prolong the life of the next set of tablets.
        • by Skythe (921438)
          Have had the charging port wear out twice on my Galaxy Nexus. Though I'd boil that down to bad hardware design and certainly wouldn't be reflected in my Nexus 5.
        • It isn't the reason I stopped using a particular LG phone (the reason was ultimately LG's refusal to update us to ICS or provide us with the necessary code to do it ourselves), but it sure was a major inconvenience until I retired it. And it wasn't so much worn out as made finicky by a small crack in the surrounding housing that wouldn't stay glued, a weak point of which I know I was not the only victim.
      • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7&cornell,edu> on Thursday November 21, 2013 @01:19PM (#45483155) Homepage

        The most likely part of a connector to wear out are the springs - which is why in the MicroUSB standard, the springs are in the plug (e.g. the cable) and not the socket.

      • by Ravaldy (2621787)

        May not look like much now but it's baby steps like this that makes these kinds of technologies eventually become much better. If they don't start somewhere there will be no R&D money to continue and improve.

        The long term objective would be to enter your house and the darn thing starts charging regardless of where you are.

        • For that to happen, the charging would have to be via beamed RF energy instead of magnetic induction. What I'd rather see is a return to devices that only needed charging or battery replacements once per month or so. Like the old 2-way pagers I used to carry.

          • by X0563511 (793323)

            That's going to require either a few breakthroughs on ultra-low-current ICs, breakthroughs in energy storage (you know the batteries we already have can explode/violently-burn?) or devices with huge battery packs...

          • >charging would have to be via beamed RF energy instead of magnetic induction.

            At low frequencies or short distances they are almost the same thing. "Near field" is within about a wavelength or two, which at 30 Mhz is about 10 meters. So there's not really a hard cut off between induction and RF, more of a large gray area where you can say "this range generally behaves more like an inductor". There's no reason an "inductive" charger can't be tuned for charging devices within six to ten feet - anywhere i

          • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

            That's what wireless charging gives you. Once wireless chargers are everywhere, built into your car's dashboard and on every desk, you will be able to charge your phone at every opportunity with no additional inconvenience.

      • A replaceable port would solve this problem.
        • by hawguy (1600213)

          A replaceable port would solve this problem.

          Until the contacts of the replaceable port wear out.

          But then I guess a replaceable replaceable port would take care of that.

          Or just use a wireless charger.

        • by X0563511 (793323)

          So you can get gunk in the port port instead?

    • With constantly plugging a cable in and out of a device you will eventually wear it down and break it (becomes loose, etc).

      You cannot wear out a wireless charger.

      That is the distinction.

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        With Micro-B USB connectors the moving parts (spring contacts) are in the cable. It's designed so the cable wears out, not the socket. Replace the cable after your 10,000 connections and you're good.for another 10,000.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB#Durability [wikipedia.org]

        If the USB connector breaks, it's because you're a ham-fisted clod, not because it's badly designed.

        • by Tailhook (98486)

          you're a ham-fisted clod

          Or a four year old rips the cord running around in an airport. Or it's dark and you accidentally the phone while plugged in. Or the cat does it for you despite your great care. Etc., etc...

          This is a useful and appropriate application of induction. Stop being a dick about it.

        • Untrue. From someone who's taken a look at a few dozen devices with the same issue, it's not the spring that's the problem. Each usb female socket is basically a sheet metal shell that's locked together by overlapping metal. There is no reinforcement of that shell. Every single time after a year of constantly plugging in the cable, the force of doing so bends the metal shell allowing the cable to have some wiggle room. That wiggle room allows all cables regardless of the springs to slip and not connect

    • assuming you only plug it in to charge once a day ...

      If, like me, you use your phone throughout the day, letting it sip juice while stopped at my desk for 10 or 15 minutes several times a day, the time savings adds up; not to mention the wear and tear on the port that isn't happening and when i leave the office it's usually got a decent charge left.

      In addition since going to cordless charging I've never once forgotten to unplug the cord and accidentally yanked it out of the port or the wall

      • Sounds like you'd be better off if the companies would ditch the "thinner is better" idiocy and put some decently hefty batteries in the things. My LG G2x gets a week of standby time with the extended battery I bought, and I will never purchase a device without an easily replaceable battery (as in just under the back cover, so all I have to do is get a bigger battery and fatter cover). I don't give a damn about wireless charging if the charge won't last more than a day in the first place.

    • by mspohr (589790)

      I have QI wireless charging on my Nexus 7 and Nexus 4.
      This is incredibly convenient. Just set the device on the charger. You don't have to fiddle with the connector (there must be a rule that you will always pick up the connector in the wrong orientation). I find the fiddling with the connector is more like 15 seconds. I don't even have to think about wireless charging. Just set the device down.
      Works great.

    • by goldaryn (834427) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @01:22PM (#45483191) Homepage

      You magnetically drop your device into place onto a block on a power cord.

      Wow, that's cool. I drop mine using boring old gravity.

    • uh... no... The most important point is that there's no longer a cord strung across your floor leading to your $450 phone for you to trip over causing afore mentioned $450 phone sailing into your brick fireplace.

    • by dfghjk (711126)

      "The actual distinction in convenience is a half a second of fiddling per day."

      This is, of course, wrong. Typical for /. though, people with utterly no experience stating things as fact and getting modded Insightful.

      • Oh, sure, say I'm wrong, then don't tell me how. I positively love being misinformed and much prefer being modded up to learning things.

    • You magnetically drop your device into place onto a block on a power cord. Instead of plugging the power cord into your device. The actual distinction in convenience is a half a second of fiddling per day.

      I got my wife one of those HP Touchpads on the $99 close-out special and loaded Android on it. Fantastic device, really, too bad they sold it with WebOS (which is fine, but nobody* supports it).

      But their USB charger is fundamentally junk. I looked all over boards and everybody seems to have come to this

      • by Carnivore (103106)

        Re: Sprint-to-Verizon flash:
        I suspect no, but I would be very interested to know if it's possible as well.

        • by JDAustin (468180)

          Not possible. While both Sprint and Verizon are CDMA devices, the run on different frequencies.

          BTW, the Palm chargers (the cylinder looking ones) are some of the best out there when it comes to the electricity. The have very little noise and ripple on the current.

    • by Wdomburg (141264)

      Really, it's the sort of thing that you don't realize you want until you have it, then you are annoyed if you don't have it.

      Even under the best conditions, half a second is a bit of an exaggeration, and you're often not under the best of conditions. The cable slipped behind the desk, or you realize that you forgot to plug your phone in after you turned off the light or took off your glasses, or you're driving and don't want to be the asshole who causes an accident because you were fiddling with a cablet in

    • by beckett (27524)

      You magnetically drop your device into place onto a block on a power cord. Instead of plugging the power cord into your device. The actual distinction in convenience is a half a second of fiddling per day.

      this was why i was genuinely surprised to see cordless mice and keyboards being so commonplace, even though the distance and hassle is so minimal with such devices.

      cables are a necessary evil. i'd much rather have a clean desk.

    • You forget waterproofing. With Bluetooth and Qi charging, there's no need for external ports on a phone anymore.

      • by mythosaz (572040)

        You're going to anger the vocal minority who decry any phone without a Micro-SD slot as useless.

    • I bought a Nexus 4 approx. 2 months ago, and one of the options was wireless charging. I jumped on it. Cost 60 bucks. It works well, the only issue is that I bought a 3rd party case for the phone, and the charger which is shaped like a ball with 2 slides taken out of it such that there are 2 surfaces with different angles, allows the phone to slide off the charger. It usually happens slowly, taking an hour or two. Taking the phone out of the case stops the problem. My solution is to put the phone on
    • If my LG G2x was capable of wireless charging then the housing around the port might not be cracked today, and it might charge without me having to wedge it under something so the cord stays in just the right position. Of course I retired that phone in favor of an Optimus G anyway, but it was a pain for a while. I never thought wireless charging was more than a gimmick but now I'm having similar trouble with a tablet. It may not be a hug convenience or a big time saver, but it is a way to eliminate one pote
    • Do you use your phone before going to sleep? Connecting it to a loose charger cable on the nightstand in the semi-dark while I'm half asleep from the eBook I was just reading on the phone is pretty much a nightmare. I can't wait to get a phone that supports Qi charging...

  • The charger operates using the Qi standard, which seems to be ahead of rival Powermat."

    Wouldn't that be true by the simple fact of Google choosing them?

    I had not seen anything indicating either standard having a leg up beforehand, but it would be nice to back up an assertion like that with a link to some evidence.

  • by sitkill (893183) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @12:56PM (#45482927)
    Google already sold a wireless charger for their Nexus 4 phones:
    https://play.google.com/store/devices/details/Nexus_4_Wireless_Charger?id=nexus_4_wireless_charger&hl=en [google.com]
    I own one, works fine, and I think it also works with the new Nexus 5's as it's using the Qi standard already.
    • yup. nexus 5 works fine on a nexus 4 qi port, except that on the nexus4 the coil works almost anywhere on the phone, but on the nexus 5 you have to be nearer the centre. I'm using both while waiting for the new charger for my 5.
  • by FunkyELF (609131) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @12:57PM (#45482933)

    I just ordered 5 wireless chargers for a grand total of $85 as stocking stuffers for my family members with Nexus 4's and Nexus 5's.
    I think they came from China since they're just being delivered today. Reviews of them on newegg were good. We'll see.
    I just can't see spending $50 on a charger unless its the size of a mousepad and can charge multiple thins.

    • by mspohr (589790)

      I have the cheap Chinese QI chargers and they work great.
      They don't have the magnetic positioning so you do have to take a little more care in setting it down but they give a little beep when connected so it's easy.

    • AT&T stores have a deal going where you can get a Nokia Qi charger for $25, or three for $50. I picked up the three. One for my desk at work, one for my desk at home, and one for my nightstand.

      Not having to plug anything in is awesome. They're compatible with all the other Qi devices, including the new Nexus ones. Highly recommend.

  • I had a Palm Pre (and have a Touchpad running CM10) and thats the one thing I really miss on my Samsung devices. I'm surprised its taken so long for this to catch on with other devices.

    • by compro01 (777531)

      What Samsung device? You can toss a Qi receiver into a S3 or S4 (both have contacts for the receiver, but don't include it for whatever reason) for $20 or less.

  • It works even if my Nexus 5 is more than 5 mm above the charging pad. That is many orders of magnitude less than the range for most wireless communication technologies.

    The useful features are

    1. no connector to wear out,
    2. alignment is simple.
    3. The USB/thinport connector is available for other uses. (More of a theoretical benefit, as I don't use the USB port for anything, but I could if I wanted to. I've got the cable, I could even plug in an SD card reader.)
  • by mathimus1863 (1120437) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @01:29PM (#45483263)
    Yeah, they had one before. I got it for my Nexus 4 six months ago. But there's a reason it got 1-2 stars: it's angled and doesn't hold the phone:

    http://www.amazon.com/Google-Nexus-Wireless-Charger/dp/B00BGSPIP2 [amazon.com]

    I almost threw it out but then discovered this 3D printed adapter [thingiverse.com] that actually fixed all of its flaws. It now works great, and it charges the phone fast when plugged into the wall! But since most people don't have a 3D printer, it makes sense they'd want to sweep the memory of that one under the carpet.
    • by jo_ham (604554)

      That is a hilariously poorly designed charging device. What were they thinking when they stamped that one "ready for sale"? The one thing it has to do is support the phone while it charges and it simply... doesn't.

      The 3D printed accessory is a neat solution though.

  • I bought a Nokia Qi charger cheap (~$20) a few months ago, but it didn't work well with my Nexus 4 - it charged it a few times, but mostly it would cycle between charge/no charge every few seconds. However, the Nokia charger works perfectly with my Nexus 5, I've been using it nightly for the past few weeks.

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @01:50PM (#45483505)

    I don't really need wireless charging, I'd be happy to drop my phone into a dock with pogo port pins to allow easy charging without connecting a cable (and without wiggling the phone to get it to seat on a microUSB connector in the bottom of a dock). Seems like a cheaper and easier solution than wireless charging.

    Why didn't more phones use that simple technology? I never did find a compatible dock for my CDMA Galaxy Nexus.

    • CDMA Galaxy Nexus...
      All you had to do was get the GSM GNex car dock and so a VERY slight modification with a utility knife and then it works perfectly. Took me about 10 minutes...7 of those where watching a howto on Youtube.
    • by chihowa (366380) *

      The pogo pin docks seemed like a great idea, but they were inexplicably expensive. They sold for $90, or more than a quarter of the cost of the entire phone. I ended up buying some pogo pins from mouser and making my own dock for $5 (it's only that much because you have to do some signalling through the third pin with a uC to get it to charge at a higher rate).

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Because no-one can agree where the pogo pins should go, and it would be impossible to create a universal dock that fits any phone and guides it into place.

      Wireless charging fixes all that. Any shape device will work.

      • by hawguy (1600213)

        Because no-one can agree where the pogo pins should go, and it would be impossible to create a universal dock that fits any phone and guides it into place.

        Wireless charging fixes all that. Any shape device will work.

        I think a universal charger would be trivial to design as long as the contacts themselves are a standard width apart. Just need an adjustable guide on the sides of the charger to keep the phone lined up on the pins when you drop it in place.

        I have a universal LiIon battery charger [amazon.com] that works with all of my small LiIon batteries from cameras, cell phones, etc. It has an adjustable spring loaded guide along with movable pins that make contact with the battery. I use that when traveling so I don't h

  • Power efficiency (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jaktar (975138) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @02:13PM (#45483781)

    I've checked a few places and it seems as though you can expect a 70% power efficiency with this type of inductive charger. Some of the higher end models reach as much as 85%.

    It strikes me as odd that in a time where we want as much energy efficiency as possible, we'd push towards something much less efficient with the potential to be so widespread.

    Sources:
    http://www.wirelesspowerconsortium.com/technology/total-energy-consumption.html [wirelesspo...ortium.com]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_charging [wikipedia.org]

    • by hawguy (1600213)

      I've checked a few places and it seems as though you can expect a 70% power efficiency with this type of inductive charger. Some of the higher end models reach as much as 85%.

      It strikes me as odd that in a time where we want as much energy efficiency as possible, we'd push towards something much less efficient with the potential to be so widespread.

      Sources:
      http://www.wirelesspowerconsortium.com/technology/total-energy-consumption.html [wirelesspo...ortium.com]
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_charging [wikipedia.org]

      A phone battery is so small that it's not really that much power -- throwing away 30% of a 3.7V 2300mAh battery's capacity is 2.5 watt-hours [google.com], or just under a killowatt-hour in a year's time if you charge your battery daily - less than 15 cents for most people.

      Seems like a small price to pay for the convenience. if it saves just 1 second/day in a year's time, it will have saved around 6 minutes/year, or $1 worth of labor for someone that earns $10/hour.

      If you want to make up for it, walk or bike instea

    • I'll give you a dollar to cover the efficiency you lose charging your phone over the course of a year, and you can keep the change.

      As this is a new-ish consumer technology I fully expect the 70% figure you mention to change significantly in the near future.
  • I've been using the Qi charger pad below and it works great. It solved the problem of plugging the Google Nexus 7 Gen2 into a cable then having to remember to turn the plug upside down for the Kindle Paperwhite since the MicroUSB socket is installed backwards on it.

    Also my son can take the tablet off the charger and put it back on without having to fiddle with plugging the cable in since he's too young to do that yet. Kids friendly!

    DigiYes Ultra-thin Black QI Wireless Charger Compatible with LG Google Nex [amazon.com]

  • So my phone can finally have what my toothbrush has had for 10 years?

All the simple programs have been written.

Working...