Universal Charger Specs Agreed For Mobile Phones

Mobile phone makers have agreed to European Commission plans for a “universal charger” that can be used to power up handsets from different makers.

The technical specifications for a universal phone charger was created by two European standards bodies, namely the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).

And the good news is that it seems that most handset makers are backing the universal charger, with 14 vendors endorsing it. This includes Nokia, Research In Motion, Apple, Samsung, Sony Ericsson,  Motorola Mobility, Emblaze Mobile, Huawei Technologies, LGE, NEC, Qualcomm, TCT Mobile (Alcatel), Texas Instruments, and Atmel.

Reduced Inconvenience

It is thought that the first chargers produced to the specifications will be available in early 2011.

“I am very happy that the European Standardisation Bodies have met our request to develop within a short space of time the technical standards necessary for a common mobile phone charger based on the work done by industry,” said EC Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship.

“Now it is time for industry to show its commitment to sell mobile phones for the new charger,” he added in a statement. “The common charger will make life easier for consumers, reduce waste and benefit businesses. It is a true win-win situation.”

Over the years, the different power chargers from each manufacturer has often lead to office emails asking if anyone has an appropriate charger for their phone.

Green Benefits

And of course different power chargers are not only a major inconvenience for users, but there is a considerable environmental impact due to reduced e-waste.

This is because users will no longer need to throw away their existing charger when upgrading to a new phone. It will also mean that manufacturers can reduce their packaging by not including a new charger with every new phone.

Besides the e-waste benefits however, the new universal charger has previously been mooted to have something along the lines of 50 percent reduction in standby energy consumption, coupled with the elimination of 51,000 tonnes of redundant chargers, and a subsequent reduction of 13.6 million tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions each year.

Long Time Coming

The new universal charger will be based around micro-USB technology and will hopefully do away with the need for proprietary power ports on handsets.

But it has taken a long time to get to this point.

It was back in June 2009 that the world’s largest phone makers signed up to the European standard for a standard micro-USB charger.

Then in October 2009, the concept received the backing of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a specialist agency of the United Nations.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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