Nokia takes wireless charging to prime time

07 Sep 2012

Nokia is taking the wrong approach to its latest smartphone – the Lumia 920 – by talking up how good the built in camera is.

The fact the device is Nokia’s first to offer wireless charging is almost a byline in a press release detailing its picture taking capabilities. The vendor also isn’t making enough fuss about the phone’s use of Windows 8 – the latest version of Microsoft’s mobile operating system.

Perhaps Nokia’s reluctance to highlight the wireless charging ability is due to the fact the 920 isn’t the first wireless device to sport the feature. IMS Research notes Palm offered the same capability in its smartphones some two years ago, and that LG Electronics has incorporated it in its LTE2.

However, Nokia does seem to be the first to apply lessons of the mobile apps market to wireless charge technology by concentrating on the ecosystem. The vendor followed up the smartphone announcement with details of deals to put wireless charging points in Virgin Atlantic lounges in airports, and in branches of retailer The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in major US cities.

With the US traditionally Nokia’s weakest market, the latter deal alone should prove a major boost.

The wireless charging function is also a major lift for the technology as a whole, IMS Research analyst Jason dePreaux says. “When you talk about establishing this market, the only way to do so is by building wireless power ability into devices. With increased shipments come reduced costs, and less bulky designs that do not require additional sleeves or back doors.”

IMS predicts shipments of wireless charge-compatible devices will grow from five million units in 2012 to almost 100 million by 2015, with smartphones set to drive most of that rise. “With Nokia’s announcement, we now have a global flagship phone that will help bring the experience to more users,” dePreaux notes.

It is also notable that Nokia chose to announce its latest Lumia smartphones this week, given all reports point to a new iPhone being unveiled on September 12. That pending launch may explain Nokia’s focus on the camera function – perhaps one of the few areas of weakness on Apple’s devices.

Roll on the holiday selling period.

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