Another day, another Google Pixel 3 leak. But this one is slightly more significant than most: Google is returning to wireless charging, three years after ditching the technology.
The words “Google” and “wireless charging” haven’t gone together since the heady days of the Google Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 in 2014. Google ditched the technology in 2015’s Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, and the move to Pixel branding didn’t trigger its resurrection.
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But third time seems to be the charm. Leaker Maxim Khoroshev has posted a video on Twitter showing what appears to be the Pixel 3 being placed on a wireless charging pad, which triggers a short charging animation. You can see the video below.
It’s not an uncommon feature now, with many flagship phones supporting cable-free charging – though it does indicate an all-glass back.
So why now, when Google was so quick to dump the technology back in 2014? Well, Google’s explanation at the time was threefold. In a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), Android vice president of engineering Hiroshi Lockheimer claimed the decision was down to speed, thickness and the difficulty of plugging in microUSB cables:
“We added Qi wireless charging starting with N4 because plugging in USB micro B was such a hassle! (Which way is up!?) With this year’s Nexii, we support USB Type-C which has a reversible connector so there’s no more guessing. AND it charges incredibly swiftly: 1% to 100% in 97 mins on the 6P for example (the first ~45 mins of charging is especially fast).
“Meanwhile, wireless charging adds z (thickness). So, ease of plugging in + fast charging + optimizing for thinness made us double down on Type-C instead of wireless!”
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Obviously the Pixel 3 range will still use USB Type-C and have fast charging, so by 2015 logic wireless charging support should still be a no-no. But fashions change: the most likely explanation is that in 2015 a flagship phone could get away without wireless charging – in 2018, it’s a far tougher sell when both Apple and Samsung push the feature so hard. It’s just one less stick to beat Google with.
Is wireless charging a deal breaker for you? Let us know what you think on Twitter @TrustedReviews.