It appears that Nokia’s decision to remove wireless charging from the version of the Nokia Lumia 1520 headed to users on AT&T was a decision actually made by the carrier. Allegedly, AT&T had Nokia remove internal wireless charging to shore up support for its own corporate backed charging standard.
While AT&T hasn’t confirmed the move through typical corporate channels, AT&T’s Director of Devices & Product Marketing Don Mooers confirmed that the carrier had Nokia add external wireless charging so that it could easily transition users to the PMA (or Power Matters Alliance) standard in an email to a reader of WPCentral.
“In an effort to move toward making this a reality for consumers worldwide, we’ve placed our support for the public ecosystem roll out led by Power Matters Alliance (PMA). The PMA continues to expand membership and is building a strong ecosystem for wireless charging. The PMA solution is already installed at leading coffee shops, airports, stadiums, restaurants, gyms and more, which enables customers to wirelessly charge their phone while on the go.”
Mooers is right about the widespread availability of the PSA standard. With support from chip-maker Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics, Starbucks, AT&T Mobility and others, it’s only growing in influence.
While AT&T has every right to force device manufacturers building handsets for its network to adhere to its standards and business practices, this saga also highlights one of the big issues facing American smartphone owners.
AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile have repeatedly made headlines for blocking next-generation standards that they don’t have a vested interest in. The practice is largely believed to have killed any enthusiasm consumers had for NFC or Near Field Communication based mobile payment systems – more specifically Google Wallet.
This isn’t the first time Nokia’s done this to a device at the behest of AT&T. It’s WPCentral’s assertion that Nokia pulled the built-in wireless charging features of the Nokia Lumia 1020 for the same reason. AT&T says it’s already working with manufacturers to include PMA support in their devices starting next year.
Users of the Lumia 1020 and Lumia 1520 won’t have to eschew wireless charging completely. Both devices allow users to charge using external charging shells. It’s not as seamless as built-in charging, but it’ll get the job done regardless.
The Lumia 1520 has a 6-inch display, and is Nokia’s first attempt at competing with other phablets like the Samsung Galaxy Note. AT&T hasn’t confirmed how much the device will cost. It also hasn’t shared final pricing.