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No charger: Android makers set to follow Apple, and more tech news

Be prepared to buy a new phone and not get a new charger. Why? Why 5G of course! Plus more tech new today.

Published onJuly 9, 2020

Electrical outlet stock photo
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Thursday, July 9.

1. Samsung Galaxy Unpacked: August 5

Electrical outlet stock photo
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

The news reverberating around is that come 2021, Samsung could follow Apple in killing the in-box phone charger. That means if you buy a new Samsung phone, you’ll only get the phone in the box, not the charger. Possibly.

Apple’s starting it:

  • Reliable rumors suggest that as soon as the iPhone 12, Apple will no longer include either wired earbuds or a power adapter in the usual iPhone 12 box.
  • Wired earbuds have already been dropped by quite a few smartphone makers, and now the power adapter is next in line.
  • Why? Reducing costs, and making more money?
  • Although it’s a small, low-cost element, the power adaptor and its packaging requirements cost enough that it’s valuable to not include.
  • Apple analyst Ming-chi Kuo says this removal from Apple will allow the company to sell the iPhone 12 at a similar or the same price as the iPhone 11.
  • And as for the expected iPhone 12 with 5G, removing the in-box goodies will also offset the cost of the 5G components in the new phone, and the associated packaging, reducing freight costs, and so on.
  • All of that isn’t crazy: there’s a strong argument that people will already have a couple of the little power adapters floating around, possibly even unused, given most are interchangeable with different devices.
  • What’s likely going to annoy people is that Apple is developing a new 20W PD USB-C power adapter. And, it will be sold separately.
  • This comes on the brink of a new era of GaN chargers, that will be smaller and offer more power delivery than ever. So, it’s a shame that older technology appears to be the end-point for a charger in the box, but new tech is often used to offer new pricing (and revenue).
  • The charging cable itself, though, is always useful. What Apple is doing with that isn’t clear at all. I don’t think there’ll be an outcry if just the little power adapter into ‘the holes’, per The Frogger Seinfeld episode, goes away.
  • Though, there is an argument that you’re paying more than ever for a smartphone only to get less than ever. The $1000-barrier has already proven to be difficult for manufacturers to make sales, and Apple doubled-down by focusing on the $400 iPhone SE 2020. With wired headphones and power adapter and cable, and all, in the box.

Samsung’s doing it too:

  • According to Korea’s ETNews Samsung is also considering selling its smartphones without in-box chargers from as early as next year.
  • “Samsung Electronics is discussing with its partners about a plan that will exclude chargers from a list of components of smartphones.” said industry insiders.
  • Samsung has previously come under fire for selling a $50 45W fast charger for the Galaxy S20 Ultra while only including a 25W charger in the box.
  • But it came with a charger, at least.
  • I have asked a few other manufacturers if they are looking at similar plans, but at time of sending hadn’t yet received a response. But where the big two go the rest will surely follow, unless they make it a point of pride.
  • Fairphone did it first, by the way, back in 2016, to reduce waste.

Not a huge deal, but..:

  • There is a strong case against bundled phone chargers if new phones are shipped without chargers and I’d expect Apple wouldn’t miss using the environment as a case to nullify complaints.
  • But one issue at play is the lack of standards. Proprietary fast-charging solutions exist for the likes of HUAWEI and OnePlus, while USB Power Delivery with USB-C is one more common standard – or even Qualcomm’s Quick Charge.
  • Apple is already getting closer to adopting USB-C across its platforms, but the iPhone appears to be sticking with the Lightning port for now with its next iPhone.
  • I imagine that while USB-C everywhere would overall be great, there would be some fairly hard pushback on ditching the Lightning cable that most iPhone owners will be using or have in drawers.
  • But it would, overall, have a net positive impact if the world went to USB-C at some point, given most new laptops, including MacBooks, are already there.

2. Android 11 Beta 2 is out, with Google now saying it’s a stable release that can be relied upon by developers. And while there’s some minor user changes, the best fix looks to be much-improved media controls (Android Authority).

3. Best look yet at the OnePlus Nord around its final design and cases, and another bit of news with no surprises : OnePlus Nord will have an OLED screen (Android Authority).

4. Thunderbolt 4 is coming. Here’s everything you need to know: USB4 compliant, longer cables, and Apple has said it’ll include it with Apple Silicon which is good and not hugely surprising because Apple has always supported and adopted Thunderbolt (and, hey, it is royalty-free!). But, USB-C cable confusion will still reign: it’s not USB4 per se, and standardization still isn’t quite there (Android Authority).

5. More hints that Apple will offer Mini-LED displays in screens in 2021 Macs (MacRumors).

6. Quibi’s finally charging people after its 90-day trial expired. The problem is 92% of early users were lost (The Verge).

7. Tinder starts testing video dates for face-to-face chats. Face, sure. (Engadget).

8. Sony has launched its wearable air conditioner called Reon Pocket that can cool or heat for about $130 (Interesting Engineering).

9. “3D TVs didn’t die: they just ended up in cars (Gizmodo).

10. 🏆 “What’s your greatest internet accomplishment?” (r/askreddit).

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