back to article Wireless charging on the Galaxy S4: Samsung goes VHS not Betamax

Samsung's Galaxy S4 smartphone will use the Qi wireless charging standard, putting Sammy in bed with the Consortium for Wireless Power despite its avowed commitment to the Alliance for Wireless Power it founded with Qualcomm. The decision to use Qi charging in the S4, now confirmed by Samsung, could critically wound the alliance …

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IT Angle

Why all this fuss?

It's not on an iPhone so clearly no one has a use for it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why all this fuss?

Because the tech that samsung decides on tells us what apple will "invent" in the next iphone.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why all this fuss?

They are waiting to see which Apple go for them go with that as well.

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Re: Why all this fuss?

Actually, it tells what Apple will not invent in the future.

Apple is not going to license anything more than absolutely needed from Samsung.

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Hedging

Hedging their bets on a technology that will only increase the cost of ownership.

At a time when there was a push to make standard chargers for all mobile phones they go ahead with a bespoke system.

It will just add to the number of discarded chargers.

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Re: Hedging

They are using an existing 'standard' for wireless charging, which means that other devices will be able to use the same charger when they also implement wireless charging (assuming it becomes popular).

Except for Apple devices, as they have already said they are going to use their own, incompatible system.

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Re: Hedging

It's not like they're removing the micro USB port, you sour git. I for one, welcome some standardised inductive charging.

I know I like it on my TouchPad...

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Devil

Re: Hedging

1: It's a charging base. You'll probably just plug your existing charger lead into it.

2: My experience is that the charging socket is the first part of any phone to break. No contact == good thing.

3: Until they actually deploy it, I have a good excuse for holding out on buying a new phone.

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Samsung isn't a single business

It's a conglomerate. It's entirely possible that one part of Samsung's R&D department is officially committed to the Alliance for Wireless Power, while the division that designs the Galaxies has made it's own mind up over what it thinks is best. If it's anything like the UK/US companies I've worked for & with, the managers will let both camps run with their ideas, and take the credit for whichever one succeeds in the market.

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Coat

Alliance for Wireless Power ??!!

Splitters !!!! We're the Consortium for Wireless Power.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Alliance for Wireless Power ??!!

I thought we were the Wireless Power Alliance.

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Re: Alliance for Wireless Power ??!!

no they meet here on tuesdays.

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it's worth remembering that a replacement case was promised, and demonstrated, for the Galaxy S3 but never materialised - we asked Samsung if the S3 case will ever be available, but the company isn't saying.

Samsung did make one, but for Verizon only, iirc. There is also a bunch of third party ones available on ebay, Amazon and other places. The third party ones are usually Qi compatible.

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Anonymous Coward

Good move.

QI is already the industry standard.

Apple have already confirmed that the next iPhone will come with wireless charging, but will be unsurprisingly proprietary (and you wonder why their share price has fallen of a cliff).

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Re: Good move.

When did Apple confirm this?

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Re: Good move.

Apple hasn't confirmed that anywhere, all we seen is a filed patent.

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It's "just" a replacement back cover

Surely there could be a couple of different replacement back covers, supporting whichever tech is in use. It would allow both to run and we'd see what actually works in reality.

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Re: It's "just" a replacement back cover

Precisely. Probably just posturing by Samsung to extract something from its "partners". Business is war.

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Re: It's "just" a replacement back cover

I can assure you, QI works in my reality. Very nicely indeed.

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Bronze badge
Paris Hilton

Businesses Only Loyal to Money, Shocker

Film at 11.

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Alien

Moving target

"Driving key milestones forward" - how can that be a good thing?

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Alien

Re: Moving target

"Driving key milestones forward"

That's the problem with buzzword bingo, making sense is largely a matter of luck.

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Witricity

Screw the health concerns I want my devices charging in my pockets or any enabled surface. I am hoping Apple is thinking along these lines and does a deal with MIT.

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Happy

the Qi wireless charging standard...

Maybe Stephen Fry can explain how it all works.

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Qi Wireless FTW

Being the owner of a Nokia Lumia 920 I use my wireless charger on a daily basis and love it. Qi definitely seems to be the way things are going and Samsung changing gears should be the nail in the coffin of the other option.

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I may be being a bit thick here but what is the benefit of wireless charging? Instead of plugging in a usb charger cable you have to sit the phone on a mat? So you still have a wire (from the socket to the mat) and you have a mat that you didn't have before, to save on having to plug it in and unplug it?

I suppose it could charge more than one device at one (but so can 2 chargers) but it doesn't seem to be groundbreaking. However I'm probably just being old lol.

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From my perspetive....

I have one of sammie's lower end, but ruggedized phones. One of the wonderful things about this phone, is if I where to accidentally drop in in a glass of water from the second story, then absentmindedly for get about it for the next 20mins or so, it will be fine. The down side is that the USB port is covered by a rubber flap that seals it when not in use. While I see no indication of wear on it yet I have a suspicion that at some point this flap will fail.

I would much rather just be able to set it on a pad and cause the flexing on the flap. Not to mention not having to fiddle with it. I'm a lazy sort.

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Re: From my perspetive....

> at some point this flap will fail.

The seal on the B2710 I had (my mum uses it now) is still going strong despite the abuse I used to give it trying to open the damn thing. I expect other parts of the phone would fail before that seal, so long as you don't go abusing the seal.

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@Rampant Spaniel

You'll always have a mat to stick it on that will be plugged into the mains, but what's happening now is places like airport lounges are fitting the charging mats into tables and counter tops.

Eventually you'll find public charging points pretty much wherever people sit for any length of time. Expect an increase in phone thefts.

More importantly, car manufacturers will start fitting them in vehicles, couple that with Bluetooth audio and you will be able to get in the car, pop your phone in a holder of some type, then use it as an audio source while charging it without messing about with any leads at all. And best of all, when you change phone all of that stuff carries on working, you don't need new adapters and leads.

Basically, don't be put off by the clunkyness of the current offerings, the main promise of wireless charging is where it can be integrated into everyday things.

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Anonymous Coward

How does the radio work?

Surely wireless charging creates massive local interference for the phone antenna? Will the phone still be able to receive calls while charging?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How does the radio work?

The frequency is low enough that it won't be much impact on the radio system - unless your phone as an AM MW receiver.

But I have to wonder about the impact on:

1) The phone's compass

2) Any MW or LW receivers in the area

and I also wonder if an evil person could make a charger that could overload a wireless charging device's coils....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How does the radio work?

Thanks David, that makes some sense. I'd have thought given the proximity and power though that it would still drown out all other signals by overloading the antenna - like standing next to a very loud speaker you wouldn't hear a noise of a different pitch. Will be interesting to see though if it does work.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How does the radio work?

Well, mine does. I spent years doing electronic engineering, and it never occurred to me that a low frequency sine wave drive to a charger would interfere with the 800MHz and up of the phone signal.

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Anonymous Coward

Judean People's Front....?

"Excuse me. Are you the Consortium for Wireless Power ?"

Fuck off ! We're the Alliance for Wireless Power!"

Splitters!

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@Rampant Spaniel

"I may be being a bit thick here but what is the benefit of wireless charging? Instead of plugging in a usb charger cable you have to sit the phone on a mat? So you still have a wire (from the socket to the mat) and you have a mat that you didn't have before, to save on having to plug it in and unplug it?"

Yes. That's the sum of it. But to be fair, a simple docking station is easier than a flimsy micro USB connector, and I'd expect a charging mat to be even easier still. The main problem is that most people won't pay much for this most marginal of inconveniences, so that's not just zip return on the R&D, but extra components that have to be added to the bill of materials, but that won't add anything to the sale price.

The importance is perhaps that the makers need to keep adding newness to the latest top of the line models, as features creep down the price range - for example, if you're not hung up on cloud storage, why would you pay twice the price of a Nexus 4 for a Galaxy S4? Proprietary overlays on Android won't be much differentiation (if anything the reverse), screen res has probably maxed out, as has pocketable screen size. Wireless charging is one of those extras that the top flight sets will get to try and keep them differentiated from hungry wannabees, and from Samsung's own mid-market handsets. Who knows what other marginal benefits will be added as well, but I'm guessing few of them will be drop-dead essentials either.

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Re: @Rampant Spaniel

@ledswinger

thanks, I had a feeling it might be something like that.

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My S3 Wirelessly Charges

All you need is a new back cover from Zens and a charging pad and Qi compatible or you can order a little thing the size of a business card that sits over the battery. The S3 has the connections to allow a wireless charger to be added, its just Samsung never bothered.

It is really handy and my phone never really runs down now as I let it sit on the pad when at work and its not in use.

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Mushroom

Apple?

An approx 500 word piece about Samsung and its choice of wireless charging. Not once in those 500 words was Apple mentioned but still the trolls are out. We need a new icon: "Where's the Apple angle"

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Gold badge

Isn't the problem...

...that the Alliance for Wireless Power doesn't actually have product yet? For example, TI have ICs for QI and is adding support for PWA, but until a manufacturer can actually make a handset that works with the A4WP standard, there won't be any that work with the A4WP standard!

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Silver badge

Why so slow to go with this technology.

I'm guessing this is the same technology that electric toothbrushes have had for yonks. So calling it wireless charging is a little misleading -- isn't inductive a better word ?

My impression is that it's rather like a transformer where a coil is in proximity with another coil and power is transferred from one to the other.

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Holmes

Re: Why so slow to go with this technology.

I am no electronics engineer, but I guess the problems are related to the fact that an electric toothbrush spends hours on it's base and just minutes in use, so it has plenty of time to accumulate charge for very short bursts of use. A toothbrush also has a comparatively bulky handle in which to accomodate the charging electronics.

A phone on the other hand typically spends more time off the charger than on it in any 24 hour period and has to fit those charging electronics inside a case which the market demands be super-slim, alongside all the other electronics that a phone has to pack.

It's not the technology that is taking time, it's finding a way to successfully apply it to the smart-phone form and usage factors.

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Windows

Re: Why so slow to go with this technology.

Its exactly that, but now it can be done with levels of current sufficient to charge a 2000mAh phone battery in 2 or 3 hours as opposed to 60mAh tooth-brush battery battery overnight!!!!

I have Qi on my lumia 920. its nice but I wouldn't say its game changing...

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Headmaster

Re: Why so slow to go with this technology.

"2000mAh"

Is that the same as 2Ah but with more typing?

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MJI
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So Qi MUST be rubbish

If you use that metaphor it must be.

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Love my Qi enabled Nokia 822

Just have to say after a month of owning a Nokia 822 with the Qi backplate it still strikes me how absolutely easy it is to stay charged. Where without it I might only plug in at night or when I know I won't be picking my phone up for a bit, with the Qi charger I always set it down on the charger when I'm near it and I'm always ready to go for longer periods of heavy phone consumption. There's a Nokia branded Qi automobile charger/mount in the works and that will be the holy grail for me with both chargers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Love my Qi enabled Nokia 822

Too bad the wireless charging accessories do not come bundled with the handset box, and they are expensive.

And too bad for you, getting a phone with an OS almost nobody wants

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Anonymous Coward

Samsung should dump Qualcomm altogether

It already produces its own Exynos chips, it has no need for Qualcomm.

In fact, Samsung should peddle its Exynos chips to other hardware vendors, price it competitively, steal Qualcomm's business and make it squirm.

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