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back to article Wow, the future is HERE: Charge your phone (wirelessly) in your CAR

A range of General Motors cars will feature wireless charging next year, but don't expect to charge a Galaxy Nexus or Nokia handset as GM is backing yet another juice-over-the-air standard. The feature will be built into dashboards from 2014, according to Detroit News. Just place a phone on the pad and it will start charging, …

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Megaphone

We are the Judian Peoples Front!

... or are we the Peoples Front of Judea?

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Re: We are the Judian Peoples Front!

popular peoples front - splitters

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Bronze badge
Megaphone

Re: We are the Judian Peoples Front!

Science Dammit! Ours is the correct answer to the great question!

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Anonymous Coward

Charging case for iPhone. How quaint! So retro. You'd have though if your paying for a merc you could afford a decent phone?

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Did I miss something?

"Charging case for iPhone. How quaint! So retro. You'd have though if your paying for a merc you could afford a decent phone?"

Now, usually I love a good dig at Apple, but as crap as iphones are, they're not cheap. And GM aren't Mercedes-Benz ... so what did I miss?

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What?

Who was the genius at GM who, when presented with the option to put wireless charging into their cars, said, "We'll have this one, the one that nobody in the world has a phone that will work with it"??

Here was an opportunity for a big car manufacturer to pick one of the two main competing technologies and start a possible move towards a single standard, and they managed to shoot themselves firmly in the foot,

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Joke

Re: What?

££££££££££££££££££ or in this case $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What?

"Who was the genius at GM who, when presented with the option to put wireless charging into their cars, said, "We'll have this one, the one that nobody in the world has a phone that will work with it"??"

Given GM's wider track record I don't think we should be terribly surprised that they managed to fluff something this simple.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What?

@thesykes, it's probably more a question of:

Who is going to charge us the least for implementation fees per item... Oh, that lot who don't have any manufacturers supporting them? Yeah, that'll do. :-)

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Pint

Re: What?

any rumour mill expert should already have jumped on this as a sign that Apple will back this standard.

iOS in the car, etc which GM are known to be involved with, so maybe someone in Apple let them know thats what they are going to back, so GM announce they are putting it in, and then when Apple announce the iPhone 5S with wireless charging, they can say, "and already there are cars on the market with this built in"

well, thats what i thought anyway.

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Thumb Up

Re: What?

Seanie - I think you hit the nail on the head.

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Re: What?

I agree too. Wireless charging is pretty much a gimmick if you have to use your own charging mat, but once it is built into cars, hotel nightstands, etc. it actually has a reason to exist.

Apple would prefer to announce something like this when it is useful, rather than say "and all you have to do is carry around this mat in addition to what you were carrying around before, and you can charge wirelessly!"

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Interesting

Every time I get in my car, if my phone power is low, I plonk my HP Pre 3 onto the Touchstone. It really is excellent to be able to do that without fiddling with wires. Its also very tidy since I installed it with the wire to the touchstone hidden.

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Meh

Navigation/Ease of Use

A mildy useful idea, sure, but as I tend to want my phone at a useful visible level in order to use it as a satnav or for hands-free, something that really means it has to sit vertically, this is not for me.

A nice-to-have, but not a major motivator.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Navigation/Ease of Use

All they need to do next is fit some magnets to hold the phone.

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Re: Navigation/Ease of Use

Wireless charger built into the phone holder would be brilliant. Could then run the cable a bit more sensibly rather than having to unplug it to change the CD...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Navigation/Ease of Use

if its in a "holder", then just plug it in perhaps as part of the "holder" :-P

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Re: Navigation/Ease of Use

I think that a nicely designed, integrated, possibly pop-out, universal holder capable of holding most phones at a useful height for satnav and including a standard mini/micro usb charging cable would be great now for a lot of people.

Windscreen attachments, vent holders all really suffer from the cable problem. If the car manufacturers just built one in where it would be useful and not foul the gearlever/stereo/etc. it would help. A normal usb socket up high in the centre maybe with the other switches?

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Bronze badge

Pointless tech?

If you have to fiddle about fitting a 'charging case' to the phone each time you get in the car, it would be simpler just to connect it to a wired charger, preferably one that will allow you to use the phone hands free and stop it falling down into the footwell when you brake!

Here's an idea, how about a clamp that allows you to look at the phone while you are driving so you can use the maps app, with a USB connector that will let you charge it as you drive along. What do you mean "its already been done".

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Re: Pointless tech?

I think the point is that iPhone is permanently fitted in the charging case, in lieu of the "normal" cases most people fit to them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pointless tech?

Some phones have the QI tech built in.

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Re: Pointless tech?

Yes but I was responding to the point about "having to fit the iPhone into a special case every time you got into the car" and pointing out that in al likelihood that wasn't going to be the case. Not sure how that earned be a downvote.

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Silver badge

Re: "Not sure how that earned be a downvote."

Simples, you were criticizing something that had the honor of recieving an Iphone.

That's almost as bad as criticizing the Iphone itself.

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Facepalm

Re: "Not sure how that earned be a downvote."

Downvoted for using the word 'simples' while at the same time criticising faddish behaviour.

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Holmes

Re: Pointless tech?

... how about a clamp that allows you to look at the phone while you are driving...

Exactly what we need! More distractions while performing dangerous tasks! Brilliant!

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http://xkcd.com/927/

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Silver badge

Bumpy Road Ahead

Not only for the standards, but what happens to a phone resting on a charging platform if you're on a bumpy road? The last thing you want is for it to fall off and end up under your feet.

Hopefully they've got a system that won't heat up your keys or coins if you leave them on the charging pad.

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Thumb Up

Re: Bumpy Road Ahead

Can't speak for GM, but the Palm Pre/Touchstone combination works great in cars. The magnets hold it fine.

The Pre 3 made it a bit trickier since they changed the curve of the back made the touchstone not have such a great grip. Some people filed down the plastic a bit to get a flatter curve, but I found in my VW Passat it was fine because the Touchstone perched neatly on the flat bit between the gear knob and the climate control panel, so it held the Pre 3 in a good gravity assisted position.

I would assume that any in car built-in wireless charging would have some method of stopping the phone going flying across the car on roundabouts and bumpy roads.

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Silver badge

how much?!

... invested $5m in powermat ...

Holy crap, that seems a lot for an unsupported format.

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Easier with a cable

A USB charging cable takes up a lot less room than a charging case. Probably cheaper to replace if you lose it as well.

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Boffin

I should be a car gizmo designer

I would have had interchangeable pads for each charging standard. The car would come with a blank and each one would be a highly priced dealer fit extra. You could even have double standard ones at even higher prices for when you don't have homogeneous passengers.

What's gone wrong with the auto industry?

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Silver badge

Re: I should be a car gizmo designer

You're talking about a company that has just started installing an add-on in their cars that is only of use to iProduct users (the Siri button), so they seem to like supporting standards that will only help some of their customers and be a useless expense to others

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Back to the future: Used since 2009 with webOS devices around the world

As "Touchstone" technology uses magnets to hold the device and inductive coils to charge, it is the perfect solution for incar usage.

Back to the future :)

http://forums.webosnation.com/webos-accessories/188412-palm-pre-using-touchstone-mounted-your-car-post-your-pictures-here.html

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Silver badge

Where'd it go?

Just place a phone on the pad and it will start charging...

And then pull away or turn a corner, and it will stop charging as it goes flying off the pad and onto the floor.

A little more tweaking (and as others have said, perhaps more visible position) may be useful here perhaps? But could also nicely play with NFC to activate things like bluetooth pairing and apps like satnav or music.

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Re: Where'd it go?

Exactly. Quite what trouble the designers are having is beyond me, or indeed if there actually are any designers involved. This implementation just seems to have been spared not a moments thought.

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Silver badge

Or

Buy a $3 USB adapter/cable/iPhone whatsit doohickey.

Why all the fuss?

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Bronze badge

Seems a bit pointless

Apart from the obvious disadvantage that you have to use a snap on case (which I presume you won't keep on, you'll leave in the car) having the charging mat in a fixed location means you can't use the phone as a visual sat nav or trap alerter etc. A wireless dock in the dashboard with universal fittings would make more sense.

As you are driving using the phone may be outlawed so quick access to pick it up and use it is redundant.

Unlike a charging mat on you desk where the phone can be grabbed, used and put back which has some use cases, this just seems to be using wireless for the sake of it and seems like it creates more problems than it solves.

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Silver badge

Re: Seems a bit pointless

As you are driving using the phone may be outlawed so quick access to pick it up and use it is redundant."

I'd expect this sort of new gizmo to only be fitted to higher end models initially and so would expect a full fat bluetooth phone integration including full address book access etc for making calls from steering wheel controls. The car will probably already have a built-in sat-nav too.

My car's in for service today. The courtesy car is a mid range Kia Venga with all of the above. The sat nav screen doubles as the display for the reversing camera/obstruction sensor.

As they eventually realise that not everyone wants all of the extras and/or it trickles down into economy models, maybe they'll redesign it into the dash in a way that makes the phone more visible/usable

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Anonymous Coward

It's a solid idea, as someone who just bought a new car with a dashboard compartment just the right size for a phone and equipped with a USB socket I'm looking to get a Qi charger to go in there because let's face it - streaming audio over bluetooth is going to kill your battery after a few hours

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Headmaster

and your data plan.

but on another note some pedantically, its not a 'wireless' thing, its a cable with an plug that charges inductively rather than inserting into a female socket (stop giggling in the back.)

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Bronze badge

Having just bought a screen mounted holder for my phone, I'd like to know why car manufacturers don't leave a "bald spot" on the top of the dashboard so that suckers can fix there rather leaving it in an all over wrinkled finish.

Or a couple of captive nuts on the dash that I could screw the holder to. Is that too much to ask?

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Thumb Up

Not a bad idea. I can see this working brilliantly with very little effort. Just a couple of M4 captive nuts, mounted 50mm apart at the centres, arranged directly across the vehicle, perpendicular to the direction of motion. Vehicle would ship with pan-head bolts fitted, in the colour of the dashboard finish, and they would hold down a panel 80x50mm in area. This panel would be in the dashboard finish. Beneath the panel would be the two M4 nuts (captive), and a USB port for power (and hooked up to the audio).

Accessories would have a flat base between 65x30mm and 80x50mm in area, with the mounting holes arranged across the centre of the long axis. There would be a 20mm hole in the base for a USB plug to fit through, or the USB plug coud be moulded into the base (need to standardise on orientation). A thin layer of foam on the bottom surface of the base would allow it to fit nicely onto the surface in the dashboard.

Good job, people - we have a standard. To the patents office! In which case we'd best give it square corners...

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Silver badge

How many coffee shops and pubs currently offer electrical sockets (or USB) for people to charge things? True, there's less convenicence as people have to bring the charger, but it would still be an advantage, yet it seems most places aren't keen to give people power. The only place I really see plugs is on trains, and even then, it's not available on many services. So we have something that's long been a standard, yet little interest in providing sockets for people.

Or what about micro USB? This would charge the vast majority of mobile devices. Perhaps not as elegant as just putting a device on a pad, you'd have to hook it up to the cord, but again, it's an established standard, something available today, and this time has the convenience of not having to bring your charger or a cord. If coffee shops and pubs are so eager, why haven't they already do this? Are there technical or cost reasons why wireless pads would be different?

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Because Apple chose not to implement micro USB on the iphone even though it was agreed as a standard with other phone manufacturers so we are now heading back to a state of each manufacturer going there own way with wireless charging just as they did a few years ago with wired charging.

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Silver badge

That's what I mean by "the vast majority of mobile devices" :) There are also older Nokia phones around that didn't charge on micro USB, but it's still a standard that the majority of the market is now on.

Although yes, it sadly wouldn't surprise me if a factor is idiots who think that Apple are a majority of the market, or only want to cater to the minority of Apple users (like the car that someone mentioned elsewhere in these comments, or the ridiculous number of alarm clock radios that provide charging only for the minority of Apple phones).

It is sad to see things go like this with wireless charging, as you say. I'm sure I recall a few years ago a story that the EU was going to force phone manufacturers to standardise if they didn't do it themselves - why aren't they jumping on Apple to do this, I wonder...

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Bronze badge

The Future??? Nah!!!

That will be when you can charge your CAR from your PHONE!!!

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