Google stiffs Samsung on price, now wireless charging too

Boy, these Android guys are mean

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Not content with undercutting Samsung's Galaxy S III mobile by two hundred quid, Google's Nexus 4 handset is using the Qi charging standard to provide the wireless charging Samsung still can't offer.

Sammy's handset was announced with support for wireless power charging, and will get it eventually, but in the meantime Google (via LG, which manufactures the Nexus 4) has jumped aboard the Qi bus. The Nexus 4 can be charged from the same points as Nokia's Lumia handset, which was enough to get Starbucks endorsing the standard - which is increasingly looking like a winner despite the alternatives.

The Nexus 4 is priced at £239 without a contract, while the Samsung S III comes in at £429. Both devices are powered by Google's Android operating system, and have comparable processors and screen resolution. So for the additional notes the Samsung gear delivers 4G, a tenth of an inch in screen estate and an FM radio - but the Nexus 4 provides Qi charging one can actually use today.

Qi is backed by the Wireless Power Consortium, while Samsung is a founding member (along with Qualcomm) of the rival Alliance for Wireless Power. The alliance hasn't been entirely sitting on its hands: it published the first version of its standard on the same day that Starbucks announced it would be testing Qi-compatible chargers in some of its Boston stores, but the battle isn't over yet.

When Nokia announced it was going with Qi and the consortium, El Reg asked the alliance if that was a terminal blow, but the group remains adamant that the market was big enough for two players and that everything was still to play for.

We'd contend that Google's endorsement of Qi means there's significantly less to play for now. One shouldn't discount Samsung and Qualcomm, and there are no doubt vertical markets where the alliance's A4WP spec will have advantages, but for most of us the Qi standard will fulfil our wireless charging needs.

Just as soon as we work out what those needs are exactly. ®

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