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Phone firms plan universal chargers for 2012

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.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -3

    exclusions

    Nothing would prevent HTC from using the new standard. Apple would never dream of it.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007

    0

    Since

    Apple already has a USB charging solution. The chord is the only thing that would be dumped when moving to a competing product, and much of that chord is recyclable (excluding perhaps the insulation...)

  1. JeffHarris

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 1999

    +2

    USB Chargers

    This kind of thing is LONG overdue. What a stroke of genius that every cell phone maker use the SAME connector for every cell phone! Who'da thunk?

    I've used retractable USB charging cables for all my mobile gear for ages. They use modular connectors that can be swapped out depending which device it's being used with. I just carry a separate cable for every device.

  1. space-e

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2000

    0

    Spelling Police

    Chords are like A and E flat (not E sharp)...
    Cords are what you plug into your amp (or phone)...
    Sorry, Flying Meat, this one is gonna drive me NUTS...

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007

    -1

    Sorry space-e

    As a musician, you'd think I would know better, even as a bass player. :P :)

    I completely understand, and thanks for the reminder.

  1. ff11

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2004

    -2

    What a waste

    Almost all cell phones use a universal charger NOW. Rather than coming up with a new solution that won't be adopted by all cell phones, focus on convincing the hold-outs to conform to the current standard (mini-USB).

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    Re: what a waste

    Um, mini-usb is the solution they came up with (just with less power draw).

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007

    0

    The plug

    at the phone end being USB mini will suffice, i'm sure, for the majority of phones out there. Syncing data can be accomplished via bluetooth on more capable phones, but I think the crux of the problem isn't just the plug at the phone end, but also includes the wall wart.
    Apple doesn't require a wall wart to recharge the iPhone. Power is drawn through the USB cord from the computer.
    They provide a USB Power adapter which would theoretically work for any device receiving USB power for charging, unless of course, the other USB chargeable devices require mini USB at both ends. :P
    So, is Apple already ahead of the game here, or is everyone else planning to use something that Apple doesn't? I don't see any inherent benefit from going to mini USB except for the size of the connection at the phone end. The connection at the wall or computer is not even discussed beyond lower power requirements.

    Big stinkin' woop.

    I could be mistaken, but I'll bet some of those companies will still sell separate cables for wired sync of data.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -2

    Re; the plug

    at the phone end being USB mini will suffice, ...Syncing data can be accomplished via bluetooth on more capable phones,

    Is there some reason syncing can't be done via USB?

    but I think the crux of the problem isn't just the plug at the phone end, but also includes the wall wart.

    Um, no. The plan is to standard USB for power, which means it uses standard USB for charging. Just like, for example, my Motorola phone.

    They provide a USB Power adapter which would theoretically work for any device receiving USB power for charging, unless of course, the other USB chargeable devices require mini USB at both ends. :P

    Do you understand what a USB cable or a connector is? How exactly would one "require" a mini USB connector at both ends, or even know it is mini (and I was wrong, its actually 'micro') or standard? Oh, you're looking for a reason to make it sound like a bust.

    So, is Apple already ahead of the game here, or is everyone else planning to use something that Apple doesn't?


    Well, they can't use Apple's dock connector, because Apple owns that. What they're planning on doing is using a standard interface (a standard, mind you, that already exists, not one they're creating) to use for charging.

    I don't see any inherent benefit from going to mini USB except for the size of the connection at the phone end. The connection at the wall or computer is not even discussed beyond lower power requirements.

    Again, the other side is meaningless. It could be a wall wart (like I got from my Razr), or a standard USB to mini-usb cable (like I use to hook up my phone to my computer to charge it) to any other devices they can come up with (car charger, plane charger, etc).

    And I seem to remember people praising apple for switching to mini display port on their laptops, because its smaller. And that wasn't even a standard (and even now, you still need to go to Apple in order to make a mini displayport product).

    I could be mistaken, but I'll bet some of those companies will still sell separate cables for wired sync of data.

    You mean like Apple has a special cable to sync with?

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007

    0

    Re: seem to remember

    Hmmm. I don't recall praise for the mini display port on anything but the MacBook Air. I'm personally disappointed to see it on the MacBook.

    With regard to the special cable to sync, my suggestion was that there would be companies providing an "additional" cable for the sole purpose of syncing, "along with" the USB power cable.

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