Connected on the go, something that is vital to the modern lifestyle. But to remain connected, you need those pesky batteries in your smartphones to be charged as well. But there is nothing that I loathe more than dwindling battery life — wires and cables! I’m sure I don’t speak for myself about this, but most people whose OCD game is as strong as mine, wires are a bane to keep our car interior or even desks clean and uncluttered. Then the tech industry brought along wireless charging technology. Not having to use a cable to charge your smartphone can only be summed up simply as “witchcraft”. As they begin to evolve, these wireless chargers are now becoming the coveted “Premium” feature in most modern cars, or as manufacturers will have to believe.
While I love the idea of not having to carry around my charging cable or even buy an extra one to leave in my car, the technology isn’t entirely bulletproof. It still a new form of technology, so understandably it isn’t without issues.
Firstly, the problem is the integration of these charging pads in cars and their dashboards. While some car makers have been able to do that seamlessly, some do not. But then all smartphone sizes are also not universal. Some are wide, some tall, and making sure these chargers work with everything available in the market is a difficult task.
Another problem with wireless charging pads in cars is the phone is jumping around and moving from the optimum charging spot on the pad. Some have suggested having a cradle that snuggly latches onto the phone could solve the problem. While that would be brilliant, it’s not available yet and accommodating them to be universal to an un-universal world of smartphone design, and smartphone cases as well would bear another challenge to be accommodated.
The fourth problem is that wireless charging brings about thermal issues. Smartphones tend to get very hot. However, some cars like the Kia Sonet and Hyundai i20 have a cooling function, which to an extent helps manage that.
But the biggest issue with wireless chargers today is when you wish to use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Mirroring only the applications that you should be allowed to use while on the move which helps negate of the distractions for the driver and using the voice command feature through Siri or Google Assistant is surprisingly convenient. However, in most cars these days, they only work when they are tethered to the USB port, and thus charging as well. One last thing that needs to be taken into account that a large chunk of smartphones sold in India do not support wireless charging. It’s only premium models that offer the feature. So having a wireless charging pad, and wired smartphone mirroring function makes very little sense. However, cars like the new Hyundai i20, Nissan Magnite and other luxury models like BMWs offer the ability to use CarPlay or Android Auto wirelessly.
Additionally, carmakers and Apple have worked towards bringing about a digital car key that can remove the key fob all together. The new BMW 5 Series is the first car to offer such a feature. You can leave your key fob at home, have the application on your smartphone to lock and unlock the car, and then place the phone on the wireless charger to be able to start your car and use the mirroring application wirelessly. It sounds really cool, but we haven’t really used it in the real world yet.
So should you opt to pay extra for a higher-spec model of the car and pay a premium just for a wireless charger? Right now it makes very little sense unless all the stars align properly — wireless charging pad, wireless phone mirroring, and cooling abilities. At the moment in-car wireless chargers are not “no-brainers”. However, it is very likely that in the near future, especially with the next-generation of the automobiles, a wireless charging pad and smartphones that support it will become more efficient, manage the thermal issues and allow me and all of us to live an uncluttered and untethered life. Until then, I recommend continuing to use these pesky wires. But the future is bright and probably wireless.
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