The Galaxy Nexus has a lot going for it, and both the NFC capability and external connection pins made it over to my mock up perfect phone a couple of weeks ago. While mine were magnetic, the Nexus variant has a few metal connectors on the outside that connect to pogo pins – tiny spring-loaded connectors – on docks. Only problem is that while the Nexus has this capability, the pogo enabled docks are few and far between.
A lot of Nexus owners are tired of waiting for the accessory manufacturers to get a grip, and have taken matters into their own hands. Following a series of mods to existing Nexus car docks to add pogo pins, a project on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo now aims to bring the parts necessary for this mod to the masses at bulk prices.
This is somewhat of a special crowdfunding project since it's not about making a product happen, but rather about people getting together to get parts that are otherwise hard to get for the everyday Nexus owner. The goal is $8000 to help buy the parts, and there are several options available for what you actually get by pledging.
$15 will get you the parts to do the DIY joy, including pogo pins, a spacer, wires, a female microUSB connector, and an NFC sticker. You then buy your own official car holder for $30, cut a hole, solder the pieces together, and end up with a holder that connects to the Nexus via pogo pins, with the normal USB connection happening through the back of the holder rather than the phone. $30 will get you a pre-soldered kit, where the project creator does the soldering for you, but you still need to buy the dock and cut the hole. Then, for $80, you get the entire thing assembled for you, with the dock included. In other words you're paying $30 for a dock, $15 for parts, and $25 for not having to do the assembly yourself.
The included NFC sticker is the other side of this setup, and it basically allows you to use a variety of apps and system to create automatically triggered profiles. This means that you can set up the phone to automatically start music, navigation, or things like that when you insert it into the dock. Combined with the pogo pin connection, you then turn a $30 plastic phone holder into a USB cable-less NFC enabled car dock. Not bad for $55, or even $80 for a fully assembled dock.
Hopefully the $80 option will make this a bit less niche than it would otherwise be if it required soldering skills, as this project needs backers to succeed. I think it's great that someone is taking charge and working towards making this mod available to anyone, as it's just plain silly to have a phone capable of so much yet limited by what Samsung can be bothered producing.[Indiegogo via Droid-life]