Google’s aluminum Pixel 5 has a hole in the back for wireless charging

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If you’ve spent any time studying the Pixel 5’s specs after Google announced the phone yesterday, you might be wondering how the heck the search giant managed to include wireless charging in an aluminum phone.Well, Google has confirmed the details to a few members of the US press including Android Authority David Imel, who shared the engineering behind it on Twitter. In short, the Pixel 5’s aluminum chassis has a physical cutout for the Qi charging coil. Google has coated the entire back of the phone with a “bio-resin skin” (read: plastic) that covers and protects the charcoal while giving the back of the phone a smooth, even look.

Google says wireless charging works normally and can reach speeds of 10W, just like on the Pixel 4.

While this simple workaround is relatively neat, I wondered why Google bothered to make a phone with an aluminum body if it was going to cover it with a plastic-like coating anyway. Google has a bit of a history doing stuff like this too. The Pixel 3, for example, has a glass back partially covered in a matte plastic-like finish. The orange and white Pixel 4 also covers the glass back with a similar matte finish.

However, Imel explained that Google has a reason: thinness. The Pixel 5 sports a 4,080mAh battery – the largest to date in a Pixel device, though not much larger than what other manufacturers offer. Google told Imel that using an aluminum frame with the super thin bio-resin allows it to keep the phone 8mm thick while still maintaining a premium feel.

As beautiful as glass phones are, I haven’t liked the trend for flagships to evolve into the ‘glass sandwich’ we see on so many phones now. Glass screen, metal band around the edge, glass back. If you drop a phone like this, it will likely break, and the glass won’t feel good in your hand. Granted, both of these issues can be solved with one case, but for me the cases add too much bulk.

While we don’t know how well the bio-resin will hold up over time, Google’s “aluminum with skin” approach seems like a win, especially since it keeps charging wireless. Hopefully, we see other manufacturers take similar approaches and move away from glass-back smartphones.

Source: David Imel (@DurvidImel), Android Authority via: 9to5Google



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