updated 12:55 pm EST, Thu December 30, 2010
EU settles on micro USB for universal phone power
The European Union on Wednesday formally established its micro USB charging standard for phone charging. The approach proposed over a year ago will guarantee that phones and phone chipsets from at least 14 companies, including Apple, LG, Motorola, Nokia and RIM, will support charging over a micro USB connection without needing to switch chargers. The measure was implemented to cut back on both wasted chargers and to let users switch chargers without risking damage or undercharging.
The standard isn't so far mandatory but should be in the majority within the next two years. Some of the first phones adopting the standard are shipping quickly and will be available in the "first months" of 2011.
Although Apple is a signatory for the standard, it won't be required to replace or add to its proprietary Dock Connector. The memorandum of understanding that forms the basis of the standard lets companies bundle adapters with their devices that will allow charging off of micro USB. Most companies regularly have to ship localized versions of phones with chargers and adapters tailored to countries.