Wireless charging pads for Google Nexus devices now available

Tired of the hassles of plugging a cable into your phone to charge it? Good news: The Nexus Wireless Charger is now on sale.

The Nexus Wireless Charger, available directly from Google via the Google Play store, is a universal charging system that works with the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, and 2013 edition of the Nexus 7. The Wireless Charger was originally designed to ship alongside the new Nexus 5, which launched on October 31, but encountered a few delays.

The Wireless Charger is a small (2.4-inches square) brick that connects via micro USB cable to a standard AC outlet (an adapter is included). The charger draws 9 watts of power. It's also magnetic, so when you drop your Nexus on top of the charging pad, it "snaps" into place, ensuring a solid alignment between the two devices, essential for getting a good charge.

The new device is a significant design departure from Google's previous wireless charger, a half-dome-shaped, angled device that many affectionately called "the puck" due to its resemblance to a hockey puck. The old charger, designed solely for the Nexus 4, is no longer available for sale.

The device works much like other Qi-based wireless "charging pad" technologies, relying on electromagnetic induction to generate electrical current over a (very) short distance. When the Nexus phone is placed on the Wireless Charger, current running through a coil of wire within the charger induces current within a similar coil inside the phone, in turn charging the phone's battery.

Qi technology is an open and widely compatible standard, meaning that any Qi charging device should work with any Qi handset. In other words, if you already have a wireless charging pad, your new Google Nexus 5 should work with it just fine. PocketNow offers this look at several compatible alternatives.

As the battle for market share in the smartphone space continues to heat up, wireless charging is becoming an increasingly desirable feature among consumers, with more and more higher-end handsets supporting the technology. In addition to the Nexus 4, 5, and 7, wireless charging is featured on the Samsung Galaxy S 4, the Nokia Lumia 820 and 822, and the HTC Windows Phone 8X, among others; all powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon processors.

And Qualcomm has its own entry in the charge for wireless charging with WiPower - a technology that doesn't require the same precise alignment between the device and the power source in order to work effectively. This A4WP-compliant technology should allow developers to integrate wireless charging into everyday environments by baking it into furniture, vehicles, and so on.

The Nexus Wireless Charger begins shipping on November 29. Orders are now being accepted via Google Play.

Subscribe to the Best of PCWorld Newsletter