updated 12:30 pm EST, Tue February 17, 2009
Universal Phone Chargers
Most cellphones could use a single, interoperable standard for their power chargers within three years if a GSM Association initiative proves successful. The partnership includes phone makers like LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson as well as carriers like AT&T, KTF, Telefonica, T-Mobile and Vodafone; all have developed a format that would use micro USB as the standard and cut the typical power use by about half. The plan would cut back on the number of chargers thrown out after switching phones as well as reduce the amount of energy used to keep phones running.
With such a strategy in place today, about 51,000 tonnes of waste would be saved, the Association says. The current plan would have involved companies have most or all of their phones using the more efficient and universal format by the start of 2012.
While significant, the strategy leaves out other major phone developers that have been gaining influence but which continue to use semi-proprietary standards. Apple so far uses only its own Dock Connector-to-USB adapter to draw power for iPhones, while HTC frequently requires its ExtUSB port be used.
Neither of the firms have explained their positions, but neither are currently GSMA members. Apple's choice of the Dock Connector also centers heavily around compatibility with certain kinds of iPod accessories, such as cabling and speaker docks.