Google is widely expected to announce the LG-manufactured Nexus 4 at an event on Monday, October 29. The device is perhaps the most leaked phone in history. We know what its specs will be. We know what it will look like. And, now we know how it will differentiate itself from the competition.
An image of a wireless charging pad for the Nexus 4 leaked today, presumably proving that the phone will be the first Nexus device to have the capability of charging wirelessly. Though the site that first posted the image, PhoneArena.com, admits that it could be an elaborate ruse, the picture of the Nexus 4’s charging pad appears to be legitimate.
At first glance, the charging pad looks pretty cool. It has a bit of a rounded, Nexus Q vibe to it. The slanted design makes you wonder if the phone will slip and fall off of the thing, but it’s probably a safe bet that the material on the charging pad has some stickiness to it.
Upon further reflection, however, one ends up with the same questions that always pop up when the issue of wireless charging is discussed. Specifically, you start to wonder why anyone would want a device that charges wirelessly unless a free cellular phone comes with it but that’s unlikely.
Nexus phones, like all Android phones, are charged using standard micro-USB cables. At this point, the cables are ubiquitous. They are cheap enough that most people have dedicated cables for their home, workplace and vehicle. Wireless charging pads, on the other hand, are bulky and expensive. Does anyone really want to go out and buy a charging pad for the home, the office and the road? Of course no.
The concept of wireless charging is cool (the electricity just passes through the air!), but it doesn’t offer any more convenience than wired charging. Your phone still has to sit in one place long enough to get a charge, rendering it mostly unusable during that time. The only time that you save yourself is the one to two seconds it takes to plug in the micro-USB cable. That’s hardly worth the price of a charging pad.
Wireless charging will likely play a big role in the future of all mobile technology, but not wireless charging like it exists now. When a phone can charge wirelessly while sitting inside your pocket, that will be a big deal. Until we can do away with the charging pads, however, the technology offers little value to consumers.