What took so long? Common handset charger on its way

Finally a common handset charger is on its way

Finally a common handset charger is on its way

A new handset industry initiative means that one of the biggest frustrations for mobile phone users – trying to find a compatible charger when not at home – will hopefully become a thing of the past.

This week, the world’s biggest handset vendors signed an agreement to introduce a common charger for mobile phones.

The first generation of inter-chargeable devices and chargers should reach the European market in 2010.

In a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) submitted to the European Commission, the mobile industry identified the Micro-USB connector as its common standard.

At present, there is a plethora of different chargers for different models of mobile phone, and the EC noted that almost every household has a collection of chargers that have become superfluous over time, generating several thousand tons of waste a year.

As a result, the Commission had requested industry to come forward with a voluntary commitment to solve this problem in order to avoid legislation. The companies that have signed the agreement are Apple, LG, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Qualcomm, Research in Motion (RIM), Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and Texas Instruments.

Vice president Gunter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industrial policy in the EC, said the agreement, “will make life much simpler for consumers. They will be able to charge mobile phones anywhere from the new common charger. This also means considerably less electronic waste because people will no longer have to throw away chargers when buying new phones… As a result, the Commission does not consider it necessary to introduce legislation.”

Late last year, the world’s biggest handset vendors combined to launch a common energy rating system for mobile phone chargers, cluing consumers into the best, and worst performing models.

The five star rating system was developed to reduce the environmental footprint of telecoms products. Many consumers are unaware that phone chargers continue to use electricity when disconnected from the phone but left plugged into the wall socket. Device vendors claim about two thirds of the energy used by mobile devices is wasted in this way.

So the new rating system indicates how much energy the charger uses when left plugged in after charging is completed, with five stars for the most efficient chargers down to zero stars for the ones consuming the most energy.


  1. Avatar CAT 30/06/2009 @ 12:45 pm

    How about Apple?
    Are the EU and main standard bodies going to put pressure on them, too?

    So far even the Bluetooth standard is ignored and “spat on” by Apple, as e.g. a Bluetooth headset working perfectly fine with every major vendor (Moto, Sony, Nokia or Palm) won’t work with the iPhone as long as Apple is not its vendor. This is sick and hostile to both customers and the environment.

  2. Avatar CAT 30/06/2009 @ 12:46 pm

    Well, at least they signed it, but I am very curious to see the first iPhone compatible with other devices, not just chargers. Guess it’ll be 4.0 or beyond ?;-)

  3. Avatar Steve 30/06/2009 @ 5:34 pm

    Interesting, indeed good news. However, last time I checked Qualcomm didn’t make handsets. Is there anything they don’t poke their noses into?

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