Yesterday we got word of the latest development in the slow rise of wireless charging technologies to prominence, with news that Starbucks was going forward with a nationwide effort to bring wireless charging stations to its cafes. While that would normally be great news, we were a little less than enthused to learn that these stations wouldn’t support the Qi standard used by some of the most popular phones. Of course, even if Starbucks went with Qi, we’d still be looking at a majority of phones with no wireless charging support in the first place Why is it so damned difficult for all these companies to get on the same page and really do wireless charging right? According to one new report, the answer is unsurprisingly “money,” and specifically the desire of carriers to keep raking it in through accessory sales.
Android Police cites an industry source as making this allegation, claiming that carriers in the US have been doing what they can to keep wireless charging from arriving as a built-in feature in popular smartphones, so that they can make more money by selling wireless charging backplates or full-on third party wireless charging cases.
As if arriving just in time to help punctuate this point, the LG G3 will be coming to markets abroad with straight-from-the-factory Qi support, while the phone as sold in the United States will explicitly lack the feature, reportedly due to LG’s agreements with the carriers. Wireless charging hardware only costs a couple dollars to integrate into a phone itself, but add-on accessories can run $50 on up, giving carriers plenty of room to profit.
Does all of this seem so obvious that it’s not even worth complaining about? Well, obvious, maybe, but that doesn’t mean there’s not something worth talking about here. We’ve often mused about the need to separate the sales of smartphones from the sales of cellular plans; do we need to take that one step further, and divorce phone sales from lucrative accessory sales? Or can we just convince OEMs to stop making these anti-user carrier deals in the first place? Unfortunately, we’re not seeing much in the way of easy answers.
Source: Android Police