Earlier today, Google announced the Pixel 5a along with opening pre-orders ahead of the August 26th launch. And while the Pixel 5a is a marked improvement over last year’s A-Series of devices, it also marks the final chapter in what was known as the “included charger”.
When the Pixel 5a arrives on doorsteps later this month, it will include a USB-C charging brick in the box, as has been the case ever since the original Pixel was released. However, this is all about to change once the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro make their collective debut later this year. Google confirmed the news with The Verge, claiming that “most people already have a USB-C charger”.
This is a trend from smartphone makers that continues to frustrate consumers, forcing them to purchase another accessory in the event that they want to make sure they have a compatible charger. If Google ditched the in-box charger for the Pixel 5a, it would not have been a big deal considering that charging speeds are limited to 18W. However, anything faster than that, and you’re left looking to the likes of Anker or other charging accessory makers.
Apple and Samsung were two of the first smartphone makers to ditch the included charging brick. And we’ve seen other phone makers follow suit since then. The obvious argument for getting rid of the included charger is to reduce the potential of e-waste. However, it’s more likely related to cutting costs as it results in thinner boxes, and removes the cost of the chargers themselves.
Now that Google will be joining Apple and Samsung in the charger-less parade this Fall, it’s likely only a matter of time before this change trickles down to smaller phone makers and cheaper phones.