If it was easy, affordable and sustainable they would’ve done it.
I can’t help but chip in to humbly express my disagreement along with @Zoltan_Kozma. QI is a simple and cheap technology. I don’t think modularity could have played a major role here since the QI charging circuit could be integrated in the back cover, being its own module there.
Sustainability is a difficult to compute value. In my household we have a pretty heterogenous park of devices in use. But we made sure they all support wireless charging, so instead of having a multitude of chargers all around the house and car, a handful of charging pads do the job. Yes, they waste some energy while charging. But having another dozen of wall plugs and cables hanging around 24/7 for the different plug types would waste energy, too. Not to speak about the environmental effects of their production. Moreover, contactless charging does not wear out plugs and sockets, avoiding expensive accidents and repairs in the long run.
My point is, it is rarely easy to tell what is more sustainable in the end.
To keep the phone price reasonable the Fairphone people probably had to make decisions about which extras could be integrated and which not. QI seems to have not been high enough on the list to make it. I imagine it would have been really easy to at least integrate two contact pads like in the before mentioned Note4 though, which would have opened the opportunity to offer a QI enabled back cover as a later addon.
I guess just nobody came up with that idea during design phase, which is, of course, a pity.
A small contribution from my side (and not to pour gasoline on fire, it is just coming from my own 2-weeks experience). I am also adding two pictures of the phone and the case with the Qi-receiver in-between to show how it looks like after my small modification on the protective case:
I have been using the Nillkin Qi-receiver since 2 weeks. Instead of placing it INSIDE the phone (thus under the backcover), I placed it between the phone and the protective case, after removing the sticker and double-sided tape on the receiver to make it as thin as possible. Subsequently I made small cuts and removed a small piece from the bottom rear side of the USB-c opening of the protective case so that the cable can move freely and the plug can be (almost) easily plugged and unplugged whenever it is necessary (for example when you don;t have any wireless charger around and have to use a cable to charge your phone). The bulge on the back side of the protective case gives me some discomfort of course, but it is not 'unbearable’so to say. It is barely visible from distances >50cm if you don’t look very carefully; and it doesn’t feel spongy or unstable in your hand when you hold the phone. The plug is level with the protective case so it does not hit anywhere when the botom of the phone touches a surface. And the most important finding for me is: The charging temperature during a charging cycle (normal charging, not slow charging) from +/-60% to +/- 85% has been 28 grades celcius max. while it is between 35 and 40 celcius during the cable charging(normal or quick charge, with or without original Fairphone cable) in the same ambient temperature.
I think this could be a viable solution for the majority of the wireless charging supporters who wants to have a FP. It might be also applicable for the FP4 and its soft protective case.
Well yeah, I might have exaggerated a bit. But not as much as you might think, just do the math: imagine 4 charging points in the house (this is a 4 person household) and 1 in the car and you will have to accomodate 3 charging systems instead of one. It will be a lot messier and it will be 5 x 3 instead of 5 x 1. Then, there is also a smart watch around…
Well, partially I grant you a point here, at least one of us just needs a lightning cable at the moment.
But I myself for example have a USB C phone, a Micro USB tablet and a smartwatch. And they all charge on the same wireless station. And in the car. My wife has a phone that uses micro-USB and can use the same car-dash-mount which integrates QI charging. Plus it is more secure not to have to fiddle with plugs and wires in a car cockpit.
Four people using one charging point and aligning their charging intervals so that they do not conflict as you imagine is just not practically feasible. In reality everyone has one for their devices and phones all charge overnight. It just has proven to be a lot less hassle not to have to think about what to change when new devices come around, as long as they support QI. In fact I have integrated one pad into a kitchen sideboard already for more than 2 yrs and it is not just very practical but also a lot cleaner than two or three wall warts with a bunch of cables dangling out of it.
I will gladly try it as soon as it is available through normal retail. I have lost my money on 3 out of 4 indiegogo purchases, so for me personally that site is no longer an option to be taken seriously any more.
But one option will be at the modularity of the Fairphone.
Hopefully, like at PinePhone, there will be later the possibility replace the standard back cover by one with Qi integrated. The main problem may be the missing power lines, but according to my feeling it will be possible to find a solution.
But do you (not personally, I mean Fairphone Sales and Marketing Managers) still verify your decision? I hope, so listening on the customers and verify the decisions is according my experience the grant of a stable future.
I know, but the task of a sales or product manager in our company is to know the customers. The own forum, you should at least review.
But if you have a better idea? Should all which prefer a Qi Charging feature send an email? Or should we vote the Fairphone in all reviews bad? I know smartphone suppliers which “listen” to their customers and looks on negative votes, forums about issues and many more.