back to article 'Wireless charging' in Galaxy S4 will betray Samsung's best pal

Samsung will embrace Qi wireless charging for its highly anticipated Galaxy S4 flagship smartphone, due to emerge on Thursday, we're told. By plumping for Qi, Sammy will betray Qualcomm: both companies are founding members of the Alliance for Wireless Power, which touts an over-the-air charging system called A4WP. This rivals …

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  1. Piro

    Crikey

    I wasn't even aware of the competing standard, but surely if it doesn't require alignment and can work from a short distance away, it's far superior?

    There must be some kind of catch. Widespread inductive charging for mobile devices is still early on, I'd hate for the worst standard to win already..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Digitimes

      There needs to be a flag when the source of information is Digitimes.

      A symbol to indicate the close relationship to bovine excrement perhaps?

      1. Shagbag

        Re: Digitimes

        To quote another Reg reader:

        "...verily 'tis the shit of the horse..."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Crikey

      Stronger power output required means greater input voltage and much much lower efficiency.

      QI isn't that picky about alignment. A few CM either way and it works.

      Nokia and Google have gone for QI, so it seems daft to go any other way. QI released guidelines for in-car use too.

      You have to put you phone down on a surface to charge it either way, so any distance advantage seems pointless unless you plan on hanging your phone on a piece of string, or holding it in the air for 2 hours.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Crikey

        I think the point was that the phone could charge while still doing something useful (like being the car's GPS unit) without having to dangle wires all over the place.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Crikey

      @Piro,

      The catch is that anything that Qualcomm has had its hands in is not going to be good. Over the years they have screwed company after company over. That is why they find it hard to get anyone to to join them, most have learned the hard way what that partnership will entail.

  2. Professor Clifton Shallot

    Potentially useful but needs a proper standard

    If Samsung go one way and Apple another it'll just be a mess.

    I know each is trying to achieve lock in of its customers at every point possible but this really is a step too far.

    1. Locky

      Re: Potentially useful but needs a proper standard

      Hang on, I just need to practise my surprised face when this happens...

      There we go. Carry on

    2. Darryl
      Happy

      Re: Potentially useful but needs a proper standard

      Wait, you're concerned that Apple will use a proprietary system that's completely incompatible with everyone else's?

      Next you'll be concerned that the next Pope will be Catholic

    3. MrXavia
      Facepalm

      Re: Potentially useful but needs a proper standard

      Apple will use a proprietary system no matter what... you think they will use a... standard????

      if samsung are sensible, they will build the wireless charging either into the battery or the case, allowing it to be replaced IF a different standard becomes more popular...

  3. Select * From Handle
    Thumb Down

    When the S3 was anounced last year

    At the Samsung event they were all raging on about how the S3 will be able to wireless charge (with an accessory) and stream PowerPoint style presentations to a TV with another accessory. I have a Galaxy S3 and i have yet to see any of these accessories....

    I will be very annoyed if the S4 comes out with wireless charging before them...

    1. Piro

      Re: When the S3 was anounced last year

      Isn't the Galaxy S3 a Miracast device? There's your presentations thingy.

    2. Bill Ray (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: When the S3 was anounced last year

      The Miracast look-a-like, for replicating the screen, did eventually emerge:

      http://www.clove.co.uk/samsung-allshare-cast-dongle-samsung-galaxy-s3

      It's rather nice, though overpriced. Some have complained it drops connections, but I've been using it happily with a Note 10.1 without incident.

      Wireless charging, on the other hand, still needs a hack.

      Bill.

    3. Craigness

      Re: When the S3 was anounced last year

      There is a wireless charger for the S3. Google it.

    4. MrXavia
      FAIL

      Re: When the S3 was anounced last year

      Allshare cast dongle...

      I don't have one, but its out there.. oh and I think all their new TV's can do it.. still a LITTLE pissed they've not upgraded my TV's firmware to enable it.. but hey I can still throw videos/pictures/music onto my TV via DLNA....

  4. Badvok
    Mushroom

    "it can charge devices from several centimetres away so a charger in a car chair can provide power to the phone in one's pocket"

    Erp! Erp! Erp! Exploding Pocket Alert !!!

    1. NumptyScrub
      Meh

      Since I actually know a couple of people who swear they can "feel" wireless networks, I can only assume they would be aghast at the idea of having a wireless transmitter actually in a car seat. Could be amusing pointing that out to them if I don't want to give them a lift somewhere ;)

      To be fair though, I am also a little wary of a wireless network that can supply enough energy to charge a phone using me as a medium. My phone comes with a wired charger that exceeds the 500mA USB spec, so it'll need to supply at least that equivalent, and through my soft tissue at that... :/

      1. Dr. Mouse

        Not quite...

        "I am also a little wary of a wireless network that can supply enough energy to charge a phone using me as a medium"

        It's not using you as a medium. It is using, mostly, air as the medium.

        I will accept that if you happen to be in between the charge and the device it would be using you as a medium, it's only in the same way the your phone is using your head as a medium if the base station is on the opposite side to the phone.

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        :Since I actually know a couple of people who swear they can "feel" wireless networks..."

        See if you can challenge their belief. Take them to a room that's secretly a Faraday cage (or just a very VERY dead wireless zone) and see if they can correctly call it.

        1. Dazed & Confused
          Thumb Up

          "See if you can challenge their belief. Take them to a room that's secretly a Faraday cage (or just a very VERY dead wireless zone) and see if they can correctly call it."

          A group of us went to a cottage in Yorkshire, miles from anywhere. A friend's now ex-girlfriend was 'WiFi sensitive' (and also allergic to magnesium, the 4th most abundant mineral in the human body, apparently).

          I remember her saying how much clearer her head felt without all that wireless interference. As I downloaded a book onto my Kindle from the MiFi sitting no more than 2 feet from the back of her head.....

          1. Shagbag

            LOL. Magnificent. What a stupid moo.

            Did you end up having sex with her?

      3. MrXavia
        Mushroom

        isn't the tech based on magnetic resonance? and well... surely an MRI uses WAY stronger magnetic fields, and that produces no harm to the staff or patients....

        If its RF based, then well.. .we're DOOMED I tell you! oh wait... ...

  5. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    May the best technology win

    VHS, Betamax, V2000...

    'nuff said

    1. Locky

      Re: May the best technology win

      Errr, remind me, which was the best out of those?

      1. Jedit
        Headmaster

        "Errr, remind me, which was the best out of those?"

        In terms of quality, Betamax. VHS survived because it was a bit cheaper.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Errr, remind me, which was the best out of those?"

          I thought the reason VHS won was

          1) It was cheaper

          2) Sony refused to let the porn industry use Betamax. The porn industry realised the demand for home videos and wanted higher quality for those touching never to be missed scenes but Sony refused to license the movies or something like that.

          I recall the porn industry in the US is about twice the size of the more normal film industry, [No pun intended].

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Errr, remind me, which was the best out of those?"

          Wrong, Video 2000 was the best.

          It used metal oxide tapes, you could flip them over like a compact cassette. It had a proper still frame using both video fields (Beta and VHS could only show one).

          Noise reduction, auto tracking, data track on the tape (subtitles etc), fast forwarding without lots of noise on screen, half speed mode (on later model) which increased record time to 8 hours per size, 16 hours using both sides of the tape.

          VHS and beta are just shockingly crap compared to Video 2000. But there was a problem on early machines, a lack of pre-recorded titles and its high price too.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Thumb Up

            Re: "Errr, remind me, which was the best out of those?"

            > Wrong, Video 2000 was the best.

            What he said.

            We had one of the early recorders with Nicam Stereo decoding/recording builtin.

            The quality was superb.

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: "Errr, remind me, which was the best out of those?"

            "Wrong, Video 2000 was the best."

            And it remains a shining example of what happens if you're _far_ too late to the party.

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: May the best technology win

        Technologically, Betamax was superior. Unfortunately, only Sony and Sanyo made the devices then because Sony's licensing terms were too strict. VHS came out ahead because JVC was more open to licensing, so more companies could jump in. Also, the VHS cartridge was larger, enabling it to fit more tape (twice as much if memory serves me right). This enabled feature-length films to fit even when recorded at top (Super Play--SP) quality. In contrast, top quality for Betamax (B-I, IIRC) only allowed for an hour, so feature films had to use the lower-quality half-speed mode.

        PS. Rumors that the porn industry helped turn the war remain just that--rumors. Most experts agree licensing and VHS's larger cassette size seized the day.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: May the best technology win

          "PS. Rumors that the porn industry helped turn the war remain just that--rumors"

          They certainly were not rumours. Without doubt porn was available on VHS in a volume that simply wasn't available on Betamax (if it was available at all on Betamax). I think you mean to say it can be debated if porn was the decisive factor. There is no doubt however that it was a factor.

          1. david 40

            Re: May the best technology win

            I don't remember porn industry declared their support to VHS. It just happened that way. VHS was cheaper and with more content. I suddenly realize Android will win the war in the same manner: so many phones to choose from, and cheaper.

          2. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: May the best technology win

            But whether it was a SIGNIFICANT factor can be questioed. Playboy produced their soft porn on Betamax, and there were studios that hedged their bets. Besides, any porn that was only an hour long could take advantage of Betamax's full-quality recording mode. Truth is, though Sony didn't like it, they couldn't control the distribution of porn since they had no say in the tapes once they left the factory. And according to statistics, porn sales and rentals weren't exactly the meat and potatoes of the rental industry. It helped, but the biggest lineups were the mainstream films. The big factors that won the war for VHS were easy availability and bigger spools (feature films could fit a VHS at full speed but had to use half-speed on Betamax). Plus the quality bonus of Betamax was lost on the typical 80's TV (especially in the US where the usual link was through the RF connector). This might have been a strike against V2000 as well--"good enough" won out.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I think you mean to say it can be debated if porn was the decisive factor.

            Mass debated you mean?

            1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
              Coat

              @AC 23:22 Re: I think you mean to say it can be debated if porn was the decisive factor.

              ."Mass debated you mean?"

              Ooooh, we have a cunning linguist in our midst!

  6. Silverburn
    Happy

    Wireless charging?

    ...is it really that big a deal..?

    <Fast forwards in the time machine>

    Oh. Ok, never mind.

  7. Paul 135

    Is distance charging really such a good idea?

    My University professor of high frequency electronics/ RF engineering would frequently tell us that even he would only use his mobile phone sparingly as the health concerns were unknown.

    Wireless power over distance sounds even more dubious in terms of unknown consequences of health to me.

    1. Piro

      Re: Is distance charging really such a good idea?

      Give me convenience or give me death!

      1. Jedit
        Devil

        "Give me convenience or give me death!"

        Shouldn't that be "give me convenience *and* give me death"?

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: "Give me convenience or give me death!"

          That depends on where you take your holiday.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is distance charging really such a good idea?

        "Give me convenience or give me death!"

        The sooner the better.

    2. Mips
      Childcatcher

      Re: Is distance charging really such a good idea?

      And. You are broadcasting power and most of that will disappear into the void so a miniscule percentage will get into the object you wish to charge. Efficiency requires coupling and this is what you do not have with distance charging.

      It might work but whilst the rest of us are trying to save the planet it is a load of phooey.

      1. Thought About IT
        Thumb Up

        Re: Is distance charging really such a good idea?

        Exactly! It's only a relatively small amount of power, but multiply that by the billions of these things, permanently plugged in, that will eventually be made, and we're talking about a lot of power stations.

      2. petur
        Thumb Up

        Re: Is distance charging really such a good idea?

        My HP Touchstone wireless charger uses 0.0W when the tablet is not on the dock. Same for the USB charger when no device is plugged.

        Either HP is very smart at this, or tech has moved on and detects when a device is present. My bet is at the latter.

        1. Phil Endecott

          Re: Is distance charging really such a good idea?

          > My HP Touchstone wireless charger uses 0.0W when the tablet is

          > not on the dock.

          That's not the interesting number. What we need to know is how many W are going into the battery vs. how many W are being turned into heat in the coils at either end or in the intervening medium.

      3. Richard Neill

        Re: Is distance charging really such a good idea?

        In the "near-field" for RF coupling, with a resonant antenna, it's not the case that power is broadcast into the distance. You can get 80%+ efficiency. Basically the inverse square law doesn't apply until you get several antenna-lengths away from the antenna.

    3. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: Is distance charging really such a good idea?

      "My University professor of high frequency electronics/ RF engineering would frequently tell us that even he would only use his mobile phone sparingly as the health concerns were unknown."

      YMMV but I'd have paid rather more attention to what the BIOLOGISTS thought.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Still waiting

    For that wireless S3 charger. They better hurry up!

    1. Dave, Portsmouth
      FAIL

      Re: Still waiting

      Surely someone must have sued them by now?! ;o)

      I'm still not convinced of the point of the current wireless charging standards anyway. What's the betting that the next innovation from a charging mat is one with a stand built in. They'll probably call it... a "dock"! Oh, wait... :o\

  9. the_kramer

    Charger in the car seat?!

    Won't that be like sitting in a microwave oven? Admittedly, set at low power...

  10. Mage Silver badge

    Since the charger needs a wire

    Is it as wireless as a so called cordless kettle?

    If you don't like a USB plug, a round jack or a dock, then I suppose you need it. But any range more than a few cm or so will cause issues. Inductive charging is just about ok, RF charging a stupidity.

    You are STILL going to trip over the cord of the charging mat and forget where you put it or its wired "wall wart".

    Extra expense for little value, a marketing gimmick?

    1. Fuzz

      Re: Since the charger needs a wire

      It stops being a gimmick once it becomes ubiquitous. When you can stick your phone on your desk at work, your coffee table in your house, your bedside table, on the table in the pub or on the dashboard of your car and have it charge without you needing to plug it in it becomes useful.

      If the only way of using it is as currently, via a special charger, then it's no better than the desktop charger on the MicroTAC http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola_MicroTAC

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Since the charger needs a wire

      Smewhat more than a gimmick - the idea of standardising it is that you can place anything on one of the pads and the pads will be fairly ubiquitous.

      In my case I'll be happy. I'm rough on phones and the charging socket is usually the first thing to break after the numbers rub off the keys.

  11. Liam Thom
    Stop

    Frying of testicles

    Does it come with aluminium gooly protection?

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Frying of testicles

      I can see why owners of aluminium goolies might be concerned, but unless I've missed a big advance in prosthetics technology the risk would seem to be manageable?

  12. Andrew_b65

    @ aluminium goolies

    The real issue is naked trampolining. It sounds like a set of clackers as you jump up and down.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Induction...

    Might there be a danger with implants such as pace makers? I'd read that the verdict is kinda out on induction burners.. Well they certainly were not confident enough to say there wasn't *any* danger of direct or prolonged exposure.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Induction...

      Do not put hands with rings on fingers directly over induction hob....

      Apart from that I've never noticed any issues.

  14. A K Stiles
    Devil

    A4WP vs WPC ?

    SPLITTERS!

  15. Peter Galbavy
    Facepalm

    Note 2 - smoe have hacked it

    From reading the Note 2 forums on XDA there have been a variety of hacks to make the wireless charging work - just a real shame Samsung is so totally crap with it's own accessories...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Apple will also start using wireless charging this year"

    Welcome to the party, where have you been since the only flagship product released last decade?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Apple will also start using wireless charging this year"

    "Apple will also invent wireless charging this year"

    There, fixed that for you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah. Exactley.

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Tom_

      Re: A4WP was late

      It doesn't sound much more dangerous than heated seats, to be honest.

  19. The_Regulator

    Samsung not supporting own standard

    If you can't beat them, join them right!!!

    Apple just invented a new wireless charging system too wow, pity they could not get it into the utterly boring iphone5...

  20. Andy Fletcher

    QI....I like mine

    Charges my Nexus rather quickly. Plus on the day I got it everyone in the office asked to try it out with their Jesus phones and being the evil bastard I am I let them all try it. Shame the Nexus tablet I have doesn't support it - maybe nexus time.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A couple of questions

    What is the operating frequency of the charger? What about the harmonics?

    Will it upset the wireless operation of my other gizmos?

    Will it interfere with my short wave and VHF (long distance, weak signal) radio listening?

    Thanks.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    A4WP is over.

    QI is the only established standard.

    and as for Apple, well Apple is being Apple and doing their own thing. Expect the £150 iAirCharger that does the same thing as as a £30 QI charger, but has premium Nano wire coatings on their coils that enable better electron flow (or some other bullshit to fool the gulible iTards).

  23. sjsmoto
    Unhappy

    Arg

    So instead of all phones (except Apple) using the same thin mini-USB cable for charging, there will instead have to be several charging slabs stacked on a counter somewhere for all of the competing units? Plus when traveling I'll have to take one or more of these slabs with me? Great.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Arg

      My Touchstone dock has a micro USB socket so the lead can connect direct to a phone. But I much prefer the reversible magnetic plug on my PlayBook. For no apparent reason, the new BlackBerries can't use it. Marketing departments, walls, bullets.

  24. Don Jefe
    Boffin

    Car Chair?

    Is it called a car chair in the UK? Huh. In the States we only call a thing a chair if it can be moved to a different location.

    What do you call the thing a baby human sits in at a the table?

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Car Chair?

      "High chair."

      I'm in the UK and I would use "car seat" not "car chair" for similar reasons

  25. JaitcH
    Unhappy

    Apple will also start using wireless charging this year ...

    APPLE is not know for using KISS design principals so you can envisage them using yet another non-standard device. It could have a unique modulation schema, with reception only possible on genuine iCrap, coupled with serial number verification, etc.

    The EU should mandate inter-operability for these things.

    Still, living in the copyright free area of the world, where fully compliant Apple umbilical cords, complete with switching chip, cost USD$5, I am sure our Chinese friends across the border will circumvent any pseudo-security proffered by Apple and at a fraction of the price.

  26. Trevor Marron

    There are several third-party solutions, the most common one being used with a Touchstone charger. A search on eBay will bring results, although if you fit the wireless charging back it blocks the signal from the NFC reader.

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Wireless-Charge-Dock-Charger-Kit-Blue-Battery-Door-for-Samsung-Galaxy-S3-i9300-/251169212834?pt=UK_Replacement_Parts_Tools&hash=item3a7ada09a2

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