Where will technology go in the future? Commentators often suggest that in the case of personal electronic devices, the utopian tomorrow is wireless. But with the OnePlus 5T and Google Pixel 2, both leading next generation smartphones, each opting not to include wireless charging in their suites of features, it is maybe time to investigate whether this is actually a deal breaker when buying your next device. Here’s what you should know if you want to future-proof your smartphone.
The Low Down
From our go to post on the past, present, and future of wireless charging, you’ll remember that it is as a function of moving power through an electromagnetic field from a base to a device that eliminates cables. Despite its maturity as a technology, however, it remains hamstrung by a couple things. First, charging is slow, taking some time to fill your device’s battery back to full. Second, it is not ubiquitous yet in contemporary society – most public spaces, from airplanes to coffee shops, still feature a USB 2.0 plug for charging (itself now several generations behind the latest tech). And third, the average user often doesn’t know their smartphone has wireless charging capabilities, with most opting for the familiar cable-to-wall approach.
Who Doesn’t Love It?
According to Google and OnePlus, the reason wireless charging isn’t included in their respective smartphones is because the technology isn’t quite useful enough yet. The former argued that it was a speed issue, that your Pixel won’t see a noticeable battery top-up with existing wireless charging technology. OnePlus suggested something similar, pointing to the ability of their Dash Charger to give you a seriously quick device charge without the heat and hassle of a wireless pad. In some ways, these statements make sense. Why buy a flying car package on your Tesla if it will only move you at 10 miles an hour and 3 feet off the ground?
The decision to include the latest technology advancements boils down to what a company believes will be of most use to their users. OnePlus has staked considerable time, effort, and resources on developing the Dash Charger. Google can afford to wait until wireless charging is as commonplace as USB plugs. Both, of course, have not dismissed wireless charging technology outright, stating instead that the time isn’t quite right just yet.
As consumers, however, and especially with the ever-increasing price of smartphones and their indisputable position of must-have technology today, we do have to consider the future. Americans holds onto their phone for about 22 months, longer than the average from a few years ago. For most, it’s because we can’t afford to always buy the latest $1500 smartphone. But by having a device with both wires and wireless charging, you can continue to use the former while being prepared for a future that’s defined by the latter. It may not be tomorrow, or the next month, but change is coming. We see it with the adoption of wireless charging pads in Starbucks and integrated furniture from Ikea. Wireless charging was also a big feature at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.
How Do You Future-Proof Yourself?
By thinking with your wallet and your understanding of the future, buying a phone with wireless charging makes good sense. You don’t want to be the one left out in the cold when major tech companies all adopt the feature on their newest flagship devices, a mere 6-12 months down the road. Think ahead and consider a phone with wireless charging. When it’s a standard feature in the world around you, you’ll be happy you did.