hey @madebygoogle should my pixel stand switch between slow and fast charging— Jamie ✨ (@OdeToJamie_) January 11, 2019
Google Pixel Stand charging slowly? Here's what all you need to know
Charging your device wirelessly is not sci-fi anymore. Among competing standards, Qi is the most prominent one. Supported by long list of companies (even Apple), Qi is able to swipe out most of its competitors, such as AirFuel.
Nexus 4 and 5 were the first Google phones supporting Qi wireless charging. Google discontinued the feature since then till Pixel 2 (XL). With Pixel 3, Google has reintroduced the tech. A new piece of wireless charging dock with numerous add-on functionalities was introduced along with the third generation of Pixels, namely Pixel Stand.
Available only in a single color (white), Pixel Stand behaves similarly to Android Auto, i.e. it switches your Pixel 3 (XL) to another UI once docked. The new UI can be useful for controlling smart home appliances, converting the phone to a digital photo frame or accessing Google Assistant.
As reported by Android Police, Google introduced some modifications on top of the wireless charging protocol by adding a data stream. The stand communicates with the phone via that stream, not via NFC or Bluetooth.
A companion app for Pixel Stand is also spotted, but it is exclusive to Pixel 3 family.
Since its inception, Pixel Stand is a subject of hundreds of controversies. The advertised 10W charging capability doesn’t comply with Qi 1.2 specifications. Rather it is Google’s proprietary mechanism which can reach up to 10W. Standard Qi chargers are limited to crappy 5W when paired with Pixel 3.
Frustrated users are not following the jargons and started facing strange issues with third party Qi certified chargers. Google later started certifying other chargers, but the only available one is similarly pricey.
Aside from the charging tech, the add-on services are not free from bugs. The photo frame mode was not at all working for some people. On the other hand, the ambient display notifications on Pixel 3 was broken on multiple users.
While some of these bugs were later addressed, the charging related glitches are exponentially increasing. Users are reporting random switching between ‘Charging slowly’ and ‘Charging rapidly’ notifications with Pixel Stand. To make the situation worse, other wireless chargers still displayed as ‘Charging rapidly’ on the Pixels when we clearly know they are limited to 5W.
@madebygoogle Pixel 3 wireless charging is super slow. 50% in 10 hours on the Pixel stand (🎄🎁)?! I have a Google fabric case but those aren't supposed to interfere. Original plugs and cables and all. Any advice? pic.twitter.com/Pu65YDlcc2— Christina Steel (@miceandmakeup) December 29, 2018
It appears that Google silently patched the issue with third party chargers on November (2018) OTA. They are now correctly revealing their slow charging capabilities, but Pixel Stand itself continues to behave like a costly ($79) paperweight.
At Pixel User Community, users are trying to get rid of the bugs but nothing concrete can be discovered yet. The Pixel Stand app got an update in December, and according to some users the slow charging started particularly after that. Rolling back to factory version of the app resolves the issue for some, but not for all.
pixel stand app just updated, now "charging slowly" lol. good shit— Kellen (@iamkellex) December 12, 2018
I own three pixel stands and three Pixel 3s. All of my phones and stands are only able to charge slowly while docked on the stand using the latest Pixel Stand update (12/12). If I uninstall the latest Pixel Stand app update, they are able to charge rapidly. Unfortunately the app constantly tries to update and each time it does my charging returns to slow. This is extremely frustrating and disappointing considering the cost of the stands.
I’ve been seeing this issue dating as far back as November and I’ve seen hundreds of posts about it. Is there any word from Google on a fix? It this possibly hardware related?
Rebooting the phone, unplugging and replugging the cord, analysing the correlation with heat and charging speed – people are being creative out there!
On January 22, an employee of Google responded in the same thread:
In November, we fixed a bug that impacted the charging notification on Pixel devices to more accurately reflect the charging speed (i.e., “charging rapidly, charging slowly, etc.”). Pixel Stand continues to wirelessly fast charge Pixel 3 with 10W, however the speed of your charge can be impacted by the thermal heat of your device when you dock your phone, or the position you place your phone in when docked. The best way to get a fast charge on Pixel 3 continues to be by placing your Pixel 3 in the center of your Pixel Stand and by not streaming content or increasing the thermal temperature of your device before docking your phone; all of these things will impact the charging speed. Learn more about our safety guidelines for Pixel devices here.
Looks more of a generic PR statement though, as it brought nothing new on the plate. People expect a nifty gadget to wirelessly charge their Pixels, but all these synthetic restrictions and bugfest are making Pixel Stand nothing but another unfinished Google experiment.
GSMArena did an extended review of it and conclude that Google’s newest charging accessory “is an unreliable, expensive mess”.
PiunikaWeb is following the situation and trying to bring more updates on the matter. What is your opinion about wireless charging and Pixel Stand?
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