I use a Lumia 925 myself and thought it was a bit of a gimmick. Then when I dropped my phone and it bounced onto 3 out of 4 corners I got the wireless charging cover to hide the damage and thought I might as well get the plate as well. I also ended up getting one for my Nexus 7. I go to bed at night, put the phone on it's plate, and pick it up again in the morning charged. I am no longer adding to the scratches around the USB port and can safely say that my next phone will have native Qi support rather than the cover add-on that the 925 uses.
When Dick Powell, ace designer and co-founder of SeymourPowell, designed the Tefal Freeline, the world’s first cordless kettle, it wasn’t for the likes of you and me. The thinking behind it was that while most people could cope with a power lead, those with restricted mobility could not. The ease of use that it delivered, …
Wednesday 12th November 2014 14:58 GMT PaulyV
I still run my Lumia 920 and dearly loved the wireless charging which was built in to the phone's casing. Alas after a Nokia automatic update (not the windows one) the charging simply stopped working. Oddly enough it turns the phone on when placed on the charger, but doesn't charge any further.
I know this isn't a technical forum, but you know, though'd I'd mention it just in case.
The additional charger wasn't cheap - pressed my sister into getting me one for Christmas that year, but really handy to have one next to the work PC so the phone effectively charges whenever I place it down. I am often surprised it is seen as a gimmick.
Wednesday 12th November 2014 15:06 GMT ZSn
The problem with some of these plates is that they can be exorbitant, more than 50 euros for a charging plate (at least a fancy one like the ones described) scatter a few of those around and you have the price of a new phone. That said I am looking at possible cheap ones and a charging plate for a lumia 925 to see how it goes. I suspect once I get used to it I too will loathe to go back to cables...
Wednesday 12th November 2014 15:17 GMT Franco
Thursday 13th November 2014 14:26 GMT Bassey
Picked mine up for about a tenner of eBay (slightly more than £10 but it was 18 months ago so I forget exactly). Worked perfectly with my Nexus 4 and there was no need to position it exactly. As the author says, you begin to regard plugging a phone in as ridiculously antiquated and I can't believe, so long after it first appeared, that wireless charging isn't already THE standard.
Wednesday 12th November 2014 15:08 GMT AndrueC
What's the power transfer efficiency like? I vaguely recall seeing figures of 40%. If true that would more than double the amount of power needed to charge your phone.
Ideally, I would have taken the small charging plate in the car but the system needs 1700mAh
Ah, so prolly about 60% efficiency then.
Wednesday 12th November 2014 15:13 GMT Arbee
Wednesday 12th November 2014 15:21 GMT AndrueC
Yeah - but we measure phone batteries in terms of milliamps, so it's sort of not worth caring about...
You can measure any current in milliamps but it's also true to say that most phone batteries are multiples of a thousand milliamps, otherwise known as multiples of an amp. My phone battery is 4300mAh - also known as 4Ah.
How many wireless phones do we expect to see being charged? A million? Ten million? Even one milliamp becomes one thousand amps if a million devices are drawing that current.
Wednesday 12th November 2014 15:54 GMT Arbee
Nonsense. It takes a couple of kWh of electricity to charge a phone once a day for a whole year! Let's be pessimistic and say you're half as efficient wireless charging - oh no, you've had to spend another 50p for the year. That's gonna make an impact on my £800 pa electricity bill!
Yes, if you aggregate it over ten million people it starts to sound like a lot, but it's roughly equivalent to everyone making one more cup of tea a month - i.e. irrelevant.
Wednesday 12th November 2014 15:16 GMT Anonymous Coward
Plates are cheap
Yes, you can buy the branded ones for a fortune, but you can get no-name Chinese plates for under £20 on Amazon - which work brilliantly. There is even one for the car which holds it in place like a satnav (although I have the fifty quid Nokia one as I didn't see the cheaper one first :( )
Now you can get wireless external batteries as well, you can charge on the move.
No excuse for not having them all over the place. Should be in every phone. I pity the primitives still using wires!
Wednesday 12th November 2014 15:36 GMT jabuzz
You aready can
A "cordless" kettle has to be placed on a special base. Funny because I can simply drop my Z1 Compact onto a special base just the same. In fact "charging bases" exist for the whole Xperia Z line up. In the past I had something similar for a Nokia 6310i. So to answer your question mobile phones can be more like a cordless kettle, that yours is not is down to the choice you made when you purchased the device, just like you can still buy corded kettles.
Wednesday 12th November 2014 21:32 GMT tfewster
Re: You aready can
So your special base probably takes up about 6" squared of precious desk space and you need several as they're not easily portable?
I use a much more advanced mechanism called a "USB cable" - cheap, portable, efficient, multifunctional, easy to operate one handed, standardised, and the phone can be used while charging - clearly the way to go*
* Unless phone manufacturers are going the way of HP printers, accessories manufacturers who occasionally make a phone to leverage their add-on sales
Wednesday 12th November 2014 15:58 GMT Hellcat
Wednesday 12th November 2014 16:12 GMT Mage
They are DOCKED kettles. None are really cordless.
Professional Mobile radio and DECT phones have used easy to drop in DOCKs, identical concept to a Cordless Kettle (none are wireless).
Wireless, which is usually nearly no contact inductive (none in production use Radio), charging is just stupid gimmick for fashonista technophiles that like stuff like DAB radio or "Home Theatre" using stupid plastic speakers barely better than a 1960s pocket Hong Kong radio.
Just design decent docks, that have HDMI, USB (host & slave), Stereo Line out and mic in sockets, in similar style to a DECT phone dock.
Forget the pointless "wireless" charger mats!
Thursday 13th November 2014 00:59 GMT dan1980
Re: cordless kettles
While I agree that docks are be great*, they tend to be phone-specific. Sure, more phone use USB now so that is standard but the dimensions are variable which would make generic docks more fiddly when inserting the phone. Most specifically, thickness and placement of the USB port on the phone matter quite a lot and means you have to make the dock twice as wide as the widest phone to ensure that ports located on the far left and right edges can be accommodated. This obviously rules out guides to allow you to just slot the phone in without lining it up first.
So, you end up with one dock per phone or phone family, which is fine but does lose one benefit of wireless charging, which is that any phone or tablet that has wireless charging should work, provided they all use the same standard.
So yes, docks are good but not a replacement for wireless charging.
* - I hacked one together myself using a cheap phone holder, a drill, some spare plastic and glue.
Wednesday 12th November 2014 16:13 GMT Pen-y-gors
"Ideally, I would have taken the small charging plate in the car but the system needs 1700mAh and the USB I was testing is designed for connecting memory sticks to play and didn’t have the necessary oomph."
I've got a rather neat little adapter with two USB sockets on that plugs into the 'cigarette lighter' - damn handy for charging things on the go.
Wednesday 12th November 2014 17:58 GMT Cynic_999
Thursday 13th November 2014 12:08 GMT Peter Gathercole
Devices with more capacity are available. I've got one that does 2A from one socket and 1A fro the other. Both will charge my phone.
But I have a problem with the stability of the voltage. Just charging the phone is great, but if I plug the 3.5" jack into the radio to play music from the phone at the same time as I'm charging, electrical noise from the car's electrical system gets through to the phone and renders any quiet audio un-listenable.
I'm just wondering whether I should fork out for a branded adapter, although the one I'm using was not a pound shop special. Anybody any idea whether Belkin et. al. actually make their adapters using better components, or whether they just slap their name on the same old tat and charge a higher price
Wednesday 12th November 2014 16:24 GMT Anonymous Coward
Wednesday 12th November 2014 16:34 GMT Peter Galbavy
Bought a double charging plate from a French company - name escapes me - for about £50 and a charging coil for my Samsung Note II. Now I place my Note and Nexus 7 on the charger next to my bed at night and, assuming a cat hasn't moved either one, all happy in the morning.
Once they get the standards set for higher current charging then laptops will also get more interesting.
Wednesday 12th November 2014 17:21 GMT Pat 11
You've missed the point
"...most of the tech industry likes cables. They mean you can charge and transfer data at the same time."
Actually cables mean you can charge and do everything at the same time. I don't want to run out of charge (happens a lot still with smartphones) and have to stop using the device because it's going for a lie down on its special electric cushion. Wireless charging will be more useful when it happens inside a reasonably large volume, not just on a small plane.
Wednesday 12th November 2014 17:59 GMT Oninoshiko
Qi charging is the only thing that makes smartphones useable
If it weren't easier to charge the thing all the time then not, the unbelievably low battery life (compared to my old phones) would be unbearable. With Qi charging it's not an issue...
I guess that's kinda a backhanded complement, isn't it?
Wednesday 12th November 2014 19:50 GMT Oldfogey
Thursday 13th November 2014 01:46 GMT dan1980
Re: Qi charging is the only thing that makes smartphones useable
Most style guides recommend writers avoid beginning a sentence with a numeral. The preferred form is to write the number out ("Two pedant icons . . .") or, if the number is large and thus unwieldy in written form, to re-write the sentence.
Rewriting the sentence might also provide us with an explicit verb.
Wednesday 12th November 2014 20:27 GMT Friendly Neighbourhood Coder Dan
I have a nexus 4 which I believe could be charged this way, but never felt the need to.
Out of curiosity, does it take longer - the same - less time?
And does it just work or do I need to switch on extra stuff, like NFC? That would have even more impact on charging time, if necessary...
Thursday 13th November 2014 14:35 GMT Bassey
Re: Charging time?
It takes a bit more than twice as long but that's fine because, when charging requires absolutely no effort on your part you find you automatically change your behaviour. When you sit at your desk you just take the phone out and put it on the plate. It sits there trickle charging. Same when you get home. I have a plate on the coffee table in the living room. I sit down, the phone goes on the plate. It also means I'm not fidgeting about in my pockets every time the phone beeps. It is sat on the plate next to me, charging, and I just have to glance over at it to see if I can ignore it or it's actually something important.
It probably doesn't matter how much others enthuse about it. As the writer of this piece suggests, you just need to experience it yourself and, when you do, I suspect you will end up buying 2 or 3 plates and wondering why the rest of the world hasn't cottoned on yet.
Wednesday 12th November 2014 20:48 GMT Anonymous Coward
If I could sit in the car and my phone would charge from my pocket, that's awesome! If I can put it on the coffee table, use it for a bit, and then put it on the arm of the sofa - charging all the time - that too sounds awesome! If I have to put it in a very specific spot, on a very expensive mat, that I have to pack up and take with me when I go away, then I just don't get why that's better than a dock! And of course with the dock I can charge it in half the time, using less power, and can afford to have more docks lying around which means I can leave it in my pocket or on the arm of the sofa and not have to worry about charging, because the hour in its dock was plenty.
Wednesday 12th November 2014 21:19 GMT Badger Murphy
Wednesday 12th November 2014 23:41 GMT John Tserkezis
I use qi because it's cheap. The other options are either not available or pricedly stupid.
That said, with the case on my phone and the additonal distance involved, the positioning is so tightly restricted, I have to vary it by millimetres to get the phone to admit it's charging.
If it's particularly tempremental one day, I give up and use the USB charger instead.
It still has some work to go.
Tuesday 18th November 2014 12:05 GMT Joel 1
Give a phone enough cable...
I bought myself a 10ft braided cover lightning cable. Works brilliantly - when charging in bed I have complete freedom to use it at the same time should I want to change alarm, browse the web, read an ebook etc. I used to have a dock, but actually consider the long cable much more useful.