Google introduces the new Nexus 4 with Touchstone, er, Wireless Charging Orb and Android 4.2 [the competition]
The worst kept secret out of Google's Mountain View campus was not about to be ruined by a hurricane. So with their New York City unveiling cancelled on account of Sandy threatening to inundate the metropolis with lots of water and a bunch of rain creating generally unsafe conditions for weary tech bloggers, they instead announced the new Nexus 4 smartphone built by LG through a press release. Our friends over at The Verge were able to go hands on with the Nexus 4 (along with the new Nexus 10 tablet), and there weren't many surprises after the phone had spent so much time getting leaked.
But there was one surprise, one that made us go all "Come on!" here at webOS Nation. That's the inclusion of inductive charging in the Nexus 4, by way of a magnetically securing angled desktop dock: the "Wireless Charging Orb". We agree, that name is nowhere near as cool as Palm's old Touchstone. Adding insult to injury, the charger was demoed by none other than former Palm design chief Matias Duarte.
Sure, inductive charging is nothing new. Electric toothbrushes have had inductive charging for years. The Palm Pre may have been the first smartphone to offer inductive charging, but it certainly wasn't the last. Today numerous manufacturers offer it, with a growing consensus settling around the Qi wireless standard. But to this point, none of these inductive charging solutions had offered the awesome simplicity and elegance of Touchstone. Hell, Nokia decided they needed an inductive charging pillow. Yeah, a pillow.
The Wireless Charging Orb (gosh that's a Googley name) does more than just charge - throwing a Nexus 4 onto the charger activates a new "Daydream" mode on the Android 4.2 smartphone as it charges, where it can display things like photos, news, and other at-a-glance info. Sound familiar, webOS fans? Yep, it's Exhibition. Though in all fairness, with Android 4.2 and Google Now backing it up, Daydream is likely to be leaps and bounds better than what Exhibition on even the TouchPad could accomplish.
Touchstone has proven to be a popular feature for webOS fans, with many even going so far as to modify their new non-webOS devices to charge off the old inductive pucks. Seeing as the Nexus 4 is a Nexus device, it's bound to be easily hackable and surely will be a target for Open webOS porting (though we suspect the WebOS Ports team will continue to focus on the older Galaxy Nexus). Could we finally have the inductively-charging modern webOS smartphone we've been waiting for in the Nexus 4?