What the hell, Google?!

by: Nate SwannerJanuary 26, 2013


Remember the wireless charging orb for the Nexus 4? It was a big part of the reason people wanted the device. No fumbling with cords, just drop it on the charger and go. It was simple, elegant, and a really nice touch for the Nexus line. That was teased before the device even came out, and yet… we wait. We also wait for the device itself. We stare at a giant red “sold out” in the Google Play Store, like a middle finger being waved in our face.

Same ol’ song and dance

The Nexus 4 was released on November 13th, 2012. The Nokia Lumia Windows 8 phone was released about the same time. Why oh why, then, does the Nokia phone already have a wireless charging pad? Not only that, it’s currently available. You can go on the Nokia website, or any other eCommerce site, and pick up a wireless charging pad for your Windows 8 phone right now.

Not only is the wireless charging pad available for the Windows 8 phone, but it’s available in different colors! The Nexus 4 is hard to get, and the wireless orb seems to be a unicorn at this point. We’ve seen the video, sure, but who’s actually seen one? Is it really coming soon, as rumors indicate? Are we destined for a future of camping out at dive bars in sleepy coastal towns, discussing with strangers the time we “saw” the wireless charging orb? Is this thing myth, or is it real?



Let’s be fair to Google: they don’t actually make the wireless charging orb. They do, however, control the project. The very same way they controlled the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10, made by two other manufacturers. If we look at the Nexus 7 as an example we’re left to scratch our heads further. In fact, looking a bit further into the past yields more confusion about the Google charging mystery.

If you have (or had) a Galaxy Nexus, then you’ll see those little connectors on the side. Those are pogo pins, and were supposed to be a revolution in charging technology. We were going to have a dock to set the phone in, and it would be glorious! The greatest charging dock of all time! The phone was released on December 11th, 2011. The dock was “coming soon”, but didn’t see the light of day for another 5-6 months. By then, we were already looking for what was next.

Just don’t do it

Google, if you’re listening, just stop it. Stop with the “look what we can do” stuff. If you’re going to put technology on a device, I want to be able to use it when I get the device. See how Nokia actually has a wireless charging pad? That’s what we want.

To be more accurate, don’t get involved with something if you’re not willing to support it. Don’t put pogo pins on the side of the Nexus 7, then release a dock almost a year later. It’s insulting, really. We’ve already started looking forward to Google I/O, and what may be next in the Nexus lineup. Releasing a dock now is only viable if it fits the next generation as well, which it probably won’t. If the Galaxy Nexus versus the Nexus 4 is any indication, you’ll be dropping pogo pins altogether so the Nexus 7 dock is useless moving forward.


Manufacturer malfunction?

All Nexus devices are Google driven, but not Google made. While it’s easy to place the blame on the manufacturer, let’s not get too far from center. If Google drives the project, then Google is responsible for what is put out there. I’d love to be able to say “Asus dropped the ball on this one!”, but I can’t. Asus, as a manufacturer fulfilling an order, is simply doing what they’re asked to do.

The pogo pins are different in that they’re on the device, so we can see them plain as day. They stare us in the eye, and we want to know what they’re for. Wireless charging, however, has no physical space on the device. Google could have simply not mentioned it until they were ready to release the charging orb. It would have been a great way to bolster slow sales… if, in fact, there were sales of the Nexus 4.


Look at Samsung for guidance, Google. They produce a device, then the accessories. Sometimes they even release them at the same time! Those accessories are widely available, and ready very close to launch. We’ve taken a few shots at the Nexus 4 and 7 here, but let’s talk about the Nexus 10.

The Nexus 10 shall not pass unscathed, but it’s worth noting that a pogo pin charger was available very close to launch. The authenticity of the charger was in question, but it was available about a month after launch. The Nexus 10, while popular, is easily the slowest selling of all the devices, yet has a desirable accessory first. Samsung is known for making great accessories available for their devices, so why wouldn’t Google take a page from their book? This lack of support for accessories only hurts the brand. People like docks, cases, and such. Consumers want diversity. We can’t even get a bumper case for the Nexus 4, and that’s just a piece of plastic! Samsung makes it work, so there is no reason Google can’t.


Who’s to blame?

While Google and LG love to toss blame around for Nexus 4 availability, the fact is that Google is to blame. They are the project managers, and drive all decisions related to their products. They are in a position to tell the manufacturer what they want, and when. If the manufacturer of the device isn’t in a position to make accessories, there is always the option to outsource that as well.

If we peer into our scrapbook, we find a recent history of empty promises. There is obviously the pogo pin confusion, but remember the magnetic sleep mode on the Nexus 7? Like the iPad, a cover with a magnet could put the Nexus 7 to sleep, then re-awaken it once open. We were teased with that, but nothing official ever came of it. Perhaps Google never obtained the proper licensing to use a patented technology, or maybe they simply didn’t care to support it. There was an official case for the Nexus 7 (which, in true Google accessory fashion, took far too long to see the light of day), but it was cheap and had no function other than to cover the device.

Now what?

Accessories are cool. We like to change it up, and we like to add functionality to our stuff. This lineage of functionality that goes unrequited has simply got to stop. We buy devices in part because of these things like wireless charging, or the cover putting the device to sleep. When the source that makes and/or sells the device isn’t supportive of that functionality, it’s both disappointing and suspect. We begin questioning what is going on, and it feels as though once our money has been taken for the device… we’ll never hear another word.

Google is in charge, so we look to them in this matter. It’s clear, by now, that we’re huge fans of the Nexus line. This issue with accessory availability just has to end, Google. It’s time you start standing behind your products as if they were your products, and not something you commissioned from a manufacturer. The back of my Nexus 4 says “nexus” much larger and more prominently than it says “LG”. Maybe you should take a cue from your own devices and be proud of them. I apologize for the rant, but I’m a little charged up. My phone, however, goes wanting. Then again…

  • evolutionx1

    Hah wireless charger? Where is the damn phone? :S

    • kervation

      At this point, I would just be happy to purchase an N4 from the Play Store.

  • LGsux

    wireless charger for what?

    • leoingle

      um, charging

  • Jivester

    Omg, thank you for writing this…. I waited (am still waiting) for my Galaxy Nexus car dock. If you remember, I even had one pre-ordered last year as a Christmas present from my sister. Now it is just awkward that they cancelled the pre order and my sis owes me a present from two Christmases ago (we’re past it really). A little tangential but Google was surprised by nexus 4 demand because they based it off GN demand which they didn’t sell directly for an affordable price until 6 months after it came out and after it was already old tech. And don’t even get me started on [email protected]! I love Google products but they really have to get their act together and stop promising sh it you can’t follow through with!

  • Matt

    Are you retarded? There is such a demand the phone is sold out…

    I have a Nexus 4, I have the wireless charger.

    • AndroidBrian

      You have “A” wireless charger. Not “THE” wireless charger.

      There is a huge demand. But the phones sell out so insanely quick because Google grossly underestimated (or just didn’t care) how many POs they would get. Its been out for awhile now. No way in hell should it still be sold out.

    • le_lutin

      Hey everybody, Matt’s got a nexus 4! Matt’s got a wireless charger! All our problems are solved!

  • Mark Camilleri

    I experienced some horrible customer service with the Nexus4 … I had successfully placed my order for the Nexus4 but it took around 2 weeks to ship; when it did I had just left for XMAS holidays. The device was sent back to Google as I was not available to pick it up and Google decides to cancel my order and give me a refund. “You’ll just need to place another order” – problem is to date it’s still “SOLD OUT”. So 1.5 months later and now I’ve placed an order for a Note2, effort at customer retention: 0/10.

    • It’s a dev phone, not a general public phone.

  • Aj

    The fact that my Nexus 7 screen now has brown tints around its edges makes me question if waiting for a Nexus 4 is even worth it. I’m a huge android fan, but sadly, Google has proven that they are not ready for prime time.,,, yet

  • AndroidBrian

    About time someone got pissed about this. This is Googles biggest dick move by far. Im not even mad about the limited supply of Nexus 4s or how the site was crashing. Mistakes happen…. But to show off a cool product like the Orb and never releasing it is jacked up. I Google this damn thing like 3-4 times a weeks hoping for some news. But still no price point or any ETA what so ever. Its just rude. I would be happy if a rep just said “I have no idea how much it will cost or when it will be released” that will at least be something.

  • cbinsa

    All of your points are valid. But your writing sucks! It appears you get paid by the word and a good chunk of the ones you include here are not necessary. I truly don’t usually complain about people’s writing but seriously, you need an editor.

    • Kyle

      Someone here has a superiority complex. Bow down to the Grammar Nazi!!!!

  • Peterson Silva

    I don’t see the point of this wireless charger, really. You still have to let your phone laying down at a specific point for some time. If I could use it all around a place, leave it in my pocket, etc and it charged automatically, then that’s good wireless charging.

    But still, all you say about Google being a dick is valid, of course.

    • bozzykid

      The wireless charger turns your phone into an alarm clock. Plus, you put it beside you bed and just drop your phone on it at night. There’s no fumbling around for a charger. It’s an awesome feature. Of course not everyone will find it useful but I do.

    • I think a wireless charger would be real nice. At night to have a pad to put my phone down on would be better than a cable.

  • Lumist

    And why Can’t You just use the Nokia charger or any other qi-compatible wireless charger? Whining for whinings sake is What This article is.

    • leoingle

      Then dont read it and move on. You are now whining about them whining. Some people want the wireless charger Google said they would have.

  • Not that I like it, but that is exactly the reason BIG APPLE is successful! They get their shit together!

    Accessories are available pretty much right away!


    • Yeah, I am a rare person that sees both the great sides of Apple and Android. I have an iPhone but mainly because I am a mail carrier and the media system for listening to content is great (In line remote control is far superior) but Android system is far more flexible and has way more potential down the road (And now). That being said, google is not very good at product roll out. HORRIBLE!

  • Luke Knudsen

    I am also waiting for a flip cover that was shown with the Nexus 10.

  • Benjo

    “To be more accurate, don’t get involved with something if you’re not willing to support it. Don’t put pogo pins on the side of the Nexus 7, then release a dock almost a year later. It’s insulting, really.”

    The nexus 7 was released July 2012; The dock was being sold on shelves in Asia in December 2012. I know you are in full hyperbole whine-mode but 5 months does not “constitute almost a year”

    It’s very easy to complain and it’s natural to feel disappointed. However unless you have actually worked in the in manufacturing industry it is hard to understand just how complex a process it is to get these devices out, and how even simple problems within the manufacturing chain can add months of delays to a product. Companies have to focus on the main product as customers expect both high quality and performance for increasingly low prices, so when something goes wrong with a complex accessory it is cannot get the time and attention that the main products do.

    it would be nice if a company had everything ready by the release date but let’s look at this realistically. if the nexus 7 was delayed until the dock was ready then it would have been released in the December which in turn would mean millions of potential lost sales and losing it’s status as a premium item. If they had left off the pogo pins then the people buying docks now would never have had the opportunity to done so, thus customers again would have lost out. Do you really feel either of those options would have been better than the route Asus and Google took?

    Maybe someday they will have a robust supply chain to match Apple and Samsung but those days are a long way off now and we can expect that any future releases by Google or any of the other smaller companies are also going to be affected by similar issues.

  • google_are_doing_it_on_purpose

    Ever since the nexus one, Google has taken 6 months to bring out the accessories for the nexus device line. That has been with HTC, Samsung, and now LG as a partner. It has to be done intentionally. I’ve now come to the conclusion that the couple of extra months of having the latest android version is just not worth it. I usually install a custom rom after 6-9 months, may as well have hardware with accessories as well

  • Will the Nokia one work on a nexus phone ??

  • Filip Justin

    Wireless Charging? You mean replacing the battery?

  • lagnis

    The Energizer Qi wireless charging pads work wonderfully with my Nexus 4. Those are available now. No need to wait or more importantly pay more for the elusive orb

    • MyoCarDiA

      I ordered the LG wireless charger (WCP-700) before the N4 went on sale. I figured the chargers would be sold out afterwards (and they still are), but it works really well.

      • lagnis

        That one beeps correct? The Energizer does not.

  • Darren C B

    i love my nexus 7, but I’m so disappointed that it has no HDMI out slot,i bought the device as i was assured a mhl HDMI adaptor would be available soon, unless im mistaken, there is none available and there is not gonna be.ok so,i got myself an otg cable,obviously i can download music and films and send to usb, right? nope cant do that,i have to root device,which voids my warranty, my smartphone does all those things,i thought to myself a tablet must do more thzn my smartphone,no brainer, well i was wrong,wake up asus-google, or youll be left behind quicker than nokia

    • JasonPCtech

      This may not solve your issue but Twonky Blast lets you send to DLNA wirelessly I tried it tonight. http://twonky.com/ I have not been able to send my desktop but many non-encrypted movie sites and media on my device and other DLNA servers can be sent with this free app. If you want to stream what it offers then your get one better it’s wireless! Sends to ROKU also.

    • Ed Baker

      You can use your otg cable and an sd card, usb memory stick or even a hard drive to copy movies and music to your nexus 7 without rooting it. Use ‘nexus media importer’ from the play store for about $3. I use it on my Nexus 10 and it works perfectly. Just can’t copy from a tablet to usb yet.

  • MyoCarDiA

    Nate, there was this about a week ago on the charging orb:


  • Christopher Clark

    Might as well forget about the N4 ever being available. It’s time to lick our wounds and move on. The Galaxy S4 will be dropping in April and the Googlerola X will be dropping in June. There’s still plenty to look forward to, even if it’s not the pure awesomesauce like the mythical N4…

  • Alu Zeros

    Save your money, wait for the next nexus, probably will have lte

  • Sigh

    Man the Nexus 4 has the potential to be the iPhone slayer… What a waste of that potential. It seems to me that they are letting it slip in front of their eyes and they don’t even care

  • Terrence Taylor

    I bought my Nex4 from someone off of Craigslist. I only paid like 20 bucks more than what I would have if I ordered it off of the Play Store with Tax and Shipping included. Google will get better at rolling out devices and accessories. They really haven’t been doing it that long compared to other companies. Its not an excuse, just an observation.

  • creatorstar

    Had to chime in. I love my nexus 10 but usb charges horribly slow. I googled pogo chargers weekly and I finally found a Korean guy who makes them and sells on amazon and eBay. I received the $26 cable this week and honestly its awesome. Point is even if the pogo charger was unable to ship out the box I shouldn’t have had to go through all this work to buy a cable that my tablet was obviously designed for. I blame apple. Too many companies scared of apples ever expanding fleet of lawyers and patient cases. The bastards!

  • sean

    Never mind the charger … the case is still sold out. Its a piece of flipping plastic … really???

  • Danny Ffm

    Thanks for this article, it perfectly reflects my opinon on that topic. But it seems Nokia becomes my weapon of choice in terms of Nexus 4 accesories.
    I use the Nokia CR-123 Car Holder for my Nexus 4. And since Google/LG don’t seem to support me with a wireless charging orb in the near future i’ll give the Nokia one a try…

  • FrillArtist

    “Google, if you’re listening, just stop it. Stop with the “look what we can do” stuff. If you’re going to put technology on a device, I want to be able to use it when I get the device.”

    THIS quote defines everything and all things about Google. I love that company but do they like to show off without actually showing up. They need to learn to work on their supply chain in actually getting products into customers’ hands.

  • Arii

    Still love mine . Question, how do u get speedtest app to run property on Nexus 4? On mine I always get a network error message when I try to run it on ATT 4G network. Only works on wifi for me.