Dear Carriers, If You are Going to Take Features From Phones to Make Money, Give Us Options to Get Them Back

Last week, we featured a deal for an unlocked LG G3 that could be snagged on eBay for $500. We picked one up because international versions of phones not only seem to receive updates much quicker than their counterparts here in the States (a topic for another day), but this is the model of the G3 that features wireless charging out of the box, something US carriers (Verizon and AT&T in particular) removed so that they could make extra money off of customers like you and me with accessories that add features like this on.

Once the device arrived, I slapped it on the Qi wireless charger that never leaves my desk, just to test the functionality on a G3. Sure enough, it worked without hassle straight out of the box. I didn’t need to slap a new cover on or attach a case, it just charges as if the feature is built-in, which it is. While this should have brought immediate joy, it also brought on a substantial amount of anger even quicker. Why? Because carriers in the US have robbed us of features like this for years to help them make an extra buck or two. And while I’m fine with companies trying to get richer (I’m sure we all would do the same), the way they go about it frustrates the hell out of me. What I mean is that if you are going to dumb down my smart device, so that you can charge me for accessories to make it smarter, give me some damn choices.  (more…)

FYI: AT&T’s LG G3 Doesn’t Support Qi Charging, They Went With the Charging Standard No One Uses

If you plan on picking up the LG G3 from any of the carriers in the US, you likely already know that the US carriers are forcing you to buy optional accessories in order to enable wireless charging. The G3 in the UK and other countries includes wireless charging backs out of the box, much like the Verizon G2 did last year, but things have changed this time around in our home country. Carriers are greedy, we get it. They want you to spend more on the phone you just locked into for two years or spent hundreds on to get the most out of it.  (more…)

Starbucks Begins Nationwide Rollout of Wireless Chargers in Coffee Shops

We have to agree with Chief Digital Officer of Starbucks Adam Brotman on this one – hunting around for an outlet for your phone charger at the café can be a bit of a chore. That’s why the coffee shop giant will begin to use Duracell chargers as “Powermat Spots” within Starbucks and Teavana shops to let you wirelessly charge your devices.

The rollout will begin slowly - only Boston and San Jose offer Powermat charging today - but Starbucks has plans to expand the initiative nationwide in 2015. Stores in the San Francisco Bay area will see it sooner.  (more…)

New Broadcom Chip is Compatible With Every Wireless Charging Standard

To say wireless charging is confusing to the average consumer is a massive understatement. A myriad of competing standards – Qi and tech from the Power Matters Alliance, for example – make picking out power docks compatible with your smartphone generally unpleasant. Even worse? When the time to upgrade your handset comes, you may be stuck with an incompatible dock and have to settle with a plug-in adapter dongle. Annoying.

Thankfully, Broadcom thinks it has the answer to that particular problem. The company has developed a new wireless power receiver, the BCM59350, that is compatible with every wireless charging technology on the market. No more having to worry about whether your charging plate is Qi-compatible or not – if your device contains the chip, it’ll charge regardless. (more…)

LG Shows Off G3 QuickCircle Cover With Support for Wireless Charging

This evening, LG announced the first official accessory for their next flagship, G3, which will be announced next Tuesday. The accessory is called the QuickCircle Case, and is a form of protection that “does more than just protect,” it makes the G3 “infinitely more useful.” As LG mentioned in their brief press release for the product, this isn’t just a typical folder-style case.

With its massive circular window, owners of the G3 will be able to use their phone without ever having to open the cover. The window allows you to do things like check the time, place calls, send text messages, take photos, listen to music, or get an update on health activity.  (more…)

Wireless Charging Back Cover for the Galaxy S5 Already Up for Pre-order

Already planning to pick up the Samsung Galaxy S5 when it launches on April 11 across the U.S.? Interested in wireless charging too? If so, the wireless charging back plate for the device is already available for pre-order from Samsung’s own accessory store for $29.99. You can grab it in either black or white to match the two color variants being released in the States.  (more…)