Standardized Phone Charger Would be a Godsend

By  |  Monday, June 29, 2009 at 9:17 am

Europe is doing it right: A group of major cell phone manufacturers that control 90 percent of the market–including Nokia and Sony Ericsson–have backed a European Union standard for phone chargers that would mean that buying a new phone wouldn’t require you to throw out the old charger.

Reuters reports that the standard only applies to data-enabled phones, which are expected to account for half of all phone sales in 2010. European consumers will be able to buy standardized phones that use a micro-USB socket starting next year.

The big question: When is this coming to the United States? Apple has sort of hit on a standard for chargers, given that the iPhone and iPod use the same Dock Connector. But the compatibility ends once you leave the Apple family of mobile devices. (And isn’t universal even with Apple gadgets: Recent iPhones and iPods don’t work with older car chargers.)

Why can’t others agree to use the same charger technology? Money is obviously part of it. The cell phone companies and stores have to love socking customers with a new $35 car charger every time they buy a new phone. But wouldn’t the goodwill of coming up with an environmentally friendly system go a lot further with customers?

Imagine not having to dig through a drawer full of cords, trying to find the right one that fits your phone. Or when a out of town guest visits and forgets their own charger, you’d easily be able to share. Hopefully the EU movement will spread quickly on this side of the pond.


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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Bobman Says:

    Why can’t we just use USB? I have other devices that charge off USB. The only outlier there is my Motorola phone; it uses USB but a different voltage so I need to have TWO USB chargers.

  2. Me Says:

    @ Bobman

    Hmm, maybe because an USB port is too big (even for US parts ;)) ? Hence the ‘micro’. You can of course find some micro-USB to USB cords, that you could charge it from your PC/Mac.

    But the point here is that manufacturers won’t try anymore -in the EU at least- to swindle you with crappy proprietary chargers and adapters sold at triple digits margins. Good news.

  3. Maria Howard Says:

    my car charger is well made and very tough. i use it all the time-~*