The Pixel 6 won’t come with a wall charger in the box

Google seems to be following what Apple has already done with the iPhone by ditching the in-box charging brick. Google has said that the already released Google Pixel 5A will be the last phone in their line-up to be shipped with a wall charger.

This means that the upcoming Google Pixel 6 and Google Pixel 6 Pro, which are slated for release later this year, will be the first phones manufactured by Google to not have a wall charger shipped with the phone.

When Apple ditched the wall charger for the iPhone 12 lineup, it gave a reduction of the phone’s environmental impact as the primary reason for the move. Unlike Google, Apple went a step further and failed to include earbuds with the iPhone 12. In the same vein, they also removed the charging brick from the 2020 version of the Apple Watch.

I find the dropping of wall chargers a zero-sum game, as the greenhouse emissions of producing and shipping the accessories chargers will only be shifted to third party manufacturers, leaving us at the first place we started.

Apple claimed the move allowed for a smaller retail box, translating to 70% more units being fit on a single shipping pallet. Apple estimated the reduction in carbon emissions was the equivalent of cutting 2 million metric tons of carbon emissions each year, the same as removing 450,000 cars from the road annually.

Google, on the other hand, has mentioned that people already have a USB-C charging brick, which is admittedly true, as they have included 18W USB-C PD chargers with their phones since the Nexus 6P and 5X, therefore including one with new mobile phones is pointless.

The point made by Apple about reducing e-waste can also be made here, however, the cynic in me believes Google and Apple are only ditching the wall chargers to further increase their margins and the reduction of the carbon footprint card is only a ruse for consumers to stomach getting new phones with no wall chargers.

I find the dropping of wall chargers a zero-sum game, as the greenhouse emissions of producing and shipping the accessories chargers will only be shifted to third party manufacturers, leaving us at the first place we started.

The argument for using old chargers with new phones is also a bit counterintuitive, as newer phones come with faster charging speeds.  This will mean that you probably will not be taking full advantage of how your phone can optimally perform, and the only way to take advantage of the performance is buying a new wall charger capable of matching the phone’s charging speed, leading us to the same conundrum.

However, one thing Apple and Google will successfully achieve is encouraging smaller companies to also stop bothering with the manufacturing of their handset’s accessories. This squarely leaves the consumers to be short-changed by paying the ever-increasing phone prices while getting less. However, if this translates to lower prices, or getting better specs and chipsets at competitive prices, I will gladly eat my words.

How this will affect the Kenyan market will be interesting to see, as the Google Pixel lineup largely falls in the middle range and higher-end of the market. I personally think the first manufacturer to drop the wall charger in the entry-level market stands to lose badly, but we will just have to wait and see how this unfolds.

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