Google stiffs Samsung on price, now wireless charging too
Boy, these Android guys are mean
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. ®
Re: This is new...
One man's fragmentation is another's consumer choice.
A Fandroid decides if he wants his chosen OS on a phone with an SD card or not. He chooses the screen size he wants, if he wants a real keyboard or just a virtual one. FM radio? NFC? Or maybe he fancies a stylus... etc.. etc.
A Fruitdroid just crosses his fingers the great west coast oracle will give him what he was missing with the last model, and when it doesn't he still queues up and buys it.
" 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"
Simple really. Combine with RFC to make in-car use simple.
Add a flat, non-slip pad to the centre console, which is a charging pad with a RFC chip in it. Get in a car, pop your phone on the pad, starts charging, and the RFC tells the phone to turn on Bluetooth, if it's the first time, it passes the connection details as well and instant connection with no messing around. If you open your car door without picking up your phone, the car starts beeping in the same way as leaving your keys in or lights on. Pick your phone up, loses RFC connection and turns off Bluetooth.
Car manufacturers... no need to thank me, a free car will cover it.
"So for the additional notes the Samsung gear delivers 4G, a tenth of an inch in screen estate and an FM radio"
You mean 4G on some versions
And you forgot to mention the SD card slot on the S3, which was the reason I bought mine rather than the HTC One X and which it still has over the Nexus 4.
Although, granted, if the Nexus 4 had been announced earlier I would have probably gone for that instead considering the cost - an SD slot and FM radio I never use isn't worth £200.
Re: Never mind Samsung...
I disagree. The retail price of contract-free handsets is artificially high at the behest of the telcos, who can then offer you the phone "free" or heavily subsidized as a carrot to tempt you onto a nice fat contract. That kind of market distortion is rarely good for consumers. What Google's Nexus 4 pricing might do is bring a bit of reality to contract-free handset pricing, making it more attractive to buy a handset outright than with a contract, and thus make both the handset market and the contract market a bit more transparent. Low margins and cut-throat competition deliver great value for consumers in the PC market, and as smartphones are commodity items these days, there's no reason why that market shouldn't go the same way. If a few of the existing manufacturers can't handle that, there are plenty of others that will step in.
Re: Not just wireless charging.
"Nothing like changing "standards" every year."
Oh do come on, old chap, you're right, but you're also obliged to include this: