Poll: For the sake of wireless charging, should #Nokia give up on aluminum?

History teaches us, in tech, it’s not enough to be the first, but you have to be the best. Apple, world’s most valuable company, proved that many times during its short history in the “smartphone” market. The first touch phone was available much before the iPhone, but iPhone 2G did it the best way possible. The application store was available long before the iPhone, but when the App Store appeared with the iPhone 3G, it was practically a revolution on the market. Apple did the same with the fingerprint sensor, NFC, and now, with wireless charging. Reinvented it.

This week, Apple announced the new iPhone, in fact three of them – the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and the all new iPhone X. I don’t want to talk about the features, “innovations” or design the new iPhones have, but rather discuss an interesting new feature added to iPhone – wireless charging.

iPhone X, Apple Watch 3 and Apple AirPods on a wireless charging plate

Apple decided to support “Qi” wireless charging on all newly introduced device, including the Apple Watch Series 3. For years, Nokia and Android manufacturers (Palm prior to that) were featuring wireless charging, especially the Nokia Lumia range with colorful charging plates as an accessory for the devices. The problem was that wireless charging wasn’t popular enough to go mainstream in restaurants, coffee shops, airports, furniture, and similar. Of course, as always, they have been exceptions like McDonald’s, some Starbucks locations, some airports, IKEA furniture and similar.

The thing is, even if wireless charging didn’t go mainstream, everybody who used it hardly imagines life without it. I for example, own two Nokia wireless charges and I’ve used them regularly to charge my Lumia 830, and I really miss that feature on the Nokia 6. Marin on the other hand has been using wireless charging since his Lumia 920 and still enjoys it with his G3.

Lumia 820 and DT-901 with FatBoy

Now that the iPhone has wireless charging, we can soon expect that feature to go mainstream. In fact, Apple already announced that they partnered with a bunch of companies to promote wireless charging. Wireless charging, now that Apple is behind, is simply a must have feature for top of the line phones.

It is a little disappointing that none of the current HMD phones, especially the Nokia 8, don’t have wireless charging, but it comes as a tradeoff for the high-quality aluminum unibody. Apple ditched the aluminum back, just like Samsung, and made it out of glass to allow wireless charging. Wireless charging basically works by creating an electromagnetic field that transfers power from the source to the receiving device. Metals like aluminum intersect the field and cause significant power losses, making it almost impossible to charge wirelessly. The positive side of aluminum unibody is solid build quality, compared to the rather fragile glass.

It’s clear now that the next Nokia flagship (and mid-to-high end devices) should include wireless charging to be competitive, but what are the alternatives for the aluminum body? Should it be made out of glass as the primary material for the back of the device or returning to polycarbonate?

Lumia 920 and DT-900

In my opinion, I would rather see a return to 2012 and Lumia 920 style polycarbonate housing, than choosing glass as the primary material. I personally would rather give up on wireless charging, than opt for a “Galaxy-like” glass back. It’s just a subjective view, and it could of course change over time, but now I stand with the previous statement.

That leads us to the supposed Nokia 9. Bezel-less display, waterproofness and latest Snapdragon 835 together with + 6/8GB RAM were the rumored features of Nokia 9 we heard so far. Wireless charging was not mentioned, neither the material that will be used to make the body of the device. That leaves us with a lot of room to speculate what will and discuss what we think HMD should do in terms of materials and wireless charging.

Nokia 5 with aluminum unibody

I see the light in Qualcomm’s WiPower technology and Rezence standard. In 2015, Qualcomm demoed wireless charging on a phone with a metal housing, and bragged how that was world’s first demo of such kind. Since 2015 and that demo, we didn’t hear a lot about WiPower and the new Rezence standard that should allow wireless charging on aluminum-made phone housings. Now that Apple is stepping up the wireless game and using “Qi”, an open source standard supported by Lumia phones, surely Qualcomm will follow with its technology or become obsolete in that field.

Nokia 9 with WiPower wireless charging means that it won’t be compatible with Qi standard equipment, because they work differently.  Considering that Apple opted for Qi, HMD using Rezence will need to be followed by a big push for Rezence-compatible chargers, because everyone (Samsung and Apple at least) use Qi. That would make a WiPower Nokia 9 not compatible with all the chargers companies will start installing to attract iPhone users. Remember what happened to the PMA wireless charging standard? You probably don’t, because Qi standard took the scene long before the PMA become known. Also, Snapdragon 835 supports WiPower wireless charging, but also QuickCharge 4, and we didn’t see either on the Nokia 8 powered by it.

Nokia 8

If HMD opted for WiPower, we would probably have a device with aluminum body and wireless charging, but our wireless chargers would be limited to the one specially made for the device with Rezence standard. On the other hand, opting for Qi means choosing glass or polycarbonate as the primarily material on the phones back. Ditching wireless charging would make an upcoming flagship not competitive in that field. Maybe HMD could think of some polycarbonate patch on the back of aluminum Nokia 9 body to enable Qi wireless charging?

Wireless charging is cool, and with Apple it will be even cooler. It will probably be a “must have” feature starting next year and HMD needs to respond somehow. Down below, you can find a quick poll where we ask what do you think HMD should do in terms of wireless charging.

 

 

What do you think HMD should do in terms of material the phone is made of and wireless charging?

Follow the trend: Glass back (Aluminum/Titanium frame) + Qi Wireless charging
Be true to Nokia legacy: Polycarbonate (Aluminum/Titanium frame) + Qi Wireless charging
Wireless charging is not important; The housing needs to be of metal
Aluminum and WiPower wireless charging (not compatible with Qi)
Aluminum and some Nokia engineering magic to make it Qi compatible
Other (say in comments below)

Free Surveys

 

As always, we encourage you to elaborate your vote or state a different point of view regarding this topic in the comments down below. 😊

  • Keith B

    Definitely go for Qi like they did with the Lumia 920, 930, 830 and 950

  • Michael

    Qi. Why make life more difficult? I doubt we will see it this go around though. Personally, I dont have a problem with the glass back and would prefer it over polycarbonate especially in what will probably be a 800 dollar mobile device.

  • Stinger

    What are the benefits of wireless charging?

    The glass back is ok, but I personally like a Full Metal Jacket.

    • Well, the biggest is that you don’t have to deal with wires. If you’re in a big household, traditional chargers disappear fast and are always in use by someone, but my charging plate was always free and waiting for my Lumia. 🙂

      Also, it looks cool, and now the iPhone has it. I would trade it though for super fast wire charging (like full charge in half an hour or so), but we are not there yet. Wireless charging is slower and you can’t use the phone practically.

  • Affordable Flagship with Polycarbonate and Wireless Charging. Flagship with Glass or any other material with Wireless charging.

  • EricLovesSymbian

    EricLovesSymbian says:

    Well… This seems kinda tough. Tough in a sense that people have their own reasons for picking one over the other.

    Some people have a preference in terms of practicality vs. convenience.
    Does it look cool to use the a charging pad? Yes!
    Does it mean you have the newest fashion​statement (now that apple is on the bandwagon) to brag about? Yes!
    Will it reduce clutter of wires, etc? Yes!

    But… A lot of things aren’t as cool as many think.
    For one, quick charge 4.0+ charges very fast! Very very fast! (This isn’t regular 4.0, it has that plus attached so I think it’s about 83% charge in about 30 minutes or something. This way they can brag that their battery can give 12-16 hours of talk time in about 30 minutes or so (vs. 6-10 hours with wireless charging), showing that’s it’s better technology).
    Two, they can use wireless technology. There was some Israeli company that had something posted on gsm arena I think and all you do is plug in the charger into the phone, and plug the phone into the charger (which is like a docking station). No loss of resistance or impedence or whatever it’s called. It’s like a direct charge feeding the battery constantly, as opposed to alternating current. I believe it was a full charge in 5 mins, I think. But a 3000 mAh battery may charge from 0 to 100% in just 10-15 minutes.

    Three… Preference, enjoyment, eye candy.
    People like new things. In my humble opinion, I think putting a polycarbonate patch (or reinforced glass) on the back would be a great solution. Have aluminum or titanium where needed, but mesh together a little polycarbonate patch (or super strong reinforced glass) on the back that covers like 35-55% in the shape of a rectangle or something. And hopefully this will force them to orientate the camera​ in a horizontal fashion with a better housing! This way, they will satisy the structural rigidity of the aluminum housing, and offer the qi charging.

    Besides, almost all cars that offer wireless charging, offer qi charging. So using anything else is too courageous and it’d go against the automotive industry (not too smart to do).

    So, in essence, perhaps putting in the patch behind the Nokia 9 would be quite impressive while keeping the full aluminum or titanium housing.

    Again, the hell do I know!?? I sent these pictures and designs (very similar to the LG G6 and the Galaxy S8 back in 2014!!!) They didn’t give a damn to listen to me. And in 2015 I sent some stuff with designs, specifications, measurements, etc to Nokia (invent with Nokia) and they basically spit in my face. And now the LG V30 is almost a carbon copy of what I sent in about (or over) two years ago! (The LG is about 4 mm wider and about 11 mm taller than my schematics)

    Nevertheless, Nokia is using Android, so at least people will now care about “buying” Nokia phones again

  • EricLovesSymbian

    EricLovesSymbian says:

    Short answer…

    Use the patch cutout , keep the aluminum, do some Nokia magic, keep qi charging, and speed things up. Keep in mind the automotive industry and autonomous vehicles that will only offer qi charging.

    Done, and done!

    How hard would it be to use a foggy or glossy colorful polycarbonate patch on the back of a fully aluminum or titanium phone? It’ll still be water resistant, and it’ll add a little stylish dazzle to the phones.

    Note to Nokia – change improve modify the camera housing to make it look more adult and refined and mature. This simple rudimentary basic design is so pass…

    (This was supposed to be a short answer, lol)

  • The Mann

    i think its Wrong NOT to have Wireless charge, all Lumia from 650 to 950 all have. many people have the charger home, but Nokia/HMD need to be wireless charge in there top end model like Nokia was..