Standardized Cell Phone Chargers are on Their Way

cell chargersGet a new cell phone. Get a new cell phone charger. And probably a new car charger, too, right?

It’s always seemed silly to me that all cell phones can’t use the same charger. Silly and wasteful. That may be changing. Bloomberg reports that mobile phone manufacturers and operators “will develop a standardized handset charger to save money and energy.”

The new chargers will use 50 percent less energy and cut the number made each year by half, lowering greenhouse gases from making and transporting them by 13.6 million tonnes to 21.8 million tonnes. So far, 17 companies are involved, including Hutchison Whampoa Ltd.’s 3 Group, AT&T Inc., Motorola Inc., France Telecom SA’s Orange, Qualcomm Inc., Samsung Electronics Co., Telefonica SA and Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile.

Why has it taken so long for this idea to get implemented? It’s so simple. It’s so smart. It makes so much sense.

According to GSMWorld, the target date for the chargers to be available is January 1, 2012. They call that date “ambitious.” While I wouldn’t call three years to create a charger “ambitious,” I’m not going to complain too much about it. It’s getting done and that’s the important part.

Aside from the obvious environmental advantages to having a universal charger, this will make things simpler all around. Hotels will be able to lend chargers to visitors who have forgotten theirs. I’ll be able to charge my phone at a friend’s house if need be. A lost charger will be easily replaceable.

This is a good idea, don’t you think?

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  • I think this is a fabulous idea! I would love to get rid of all of the different chargers in my house and simply have one that will work across the board. I only wish that this was happening before 2012. I can see the many benefits.

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  • Danek

    We’ve had a standard charger for ages — it’s called miniUSB. Not all phones use it, sadly, but it works just fine as a charger, and transmits data as well. I’ve had devices that charged only via USB, but had a converter that plugged into the wall for those who couldn’t always be around a computer.

  • Concetta

    Yes! Its a fantastic idea. I’ve been demanding it for a long time.

    The closest thing we have now is a charger from Target that came with a variety of plugins for phones from the same brand.

    Its lasted us through two phones – but its sad that the resources are being wasted that every phone has a different charger and that each time you buy one, you have to get a new one if you switch brands.

  • TO

    It’s not because they have suddenly wanted to reduce waste or aggravation, it’s because they are being forced to in europe by the European Commision.

  • spuffler

    LG enV 3 / enV Touch (VX11000) only charges via USB cable, so the AC adapter has a USB port in it just to provide the USB power.

    On a related note: I bought a universal USB data cord for the phone from Verizon Wireless, I went to my car and tried charging the phone via that universal cable (it is a universal USB to miniUSB) which as I said was sold to me by Verizon Wireless corporate store – the cable produced an error message on the phone, the phone was telling me that the cable was not the correct cable for the phone.

    THEREFORE: Universal cables aren’t.

  • Daniel

    I agree that USB is the way to go, it’s already a defacto standard, but maybe they’re waiting until USB 3.0 spreads across the market a bit.

    I believe the miniUSB 3.0 plug is different from the current one, and it makes sense to base this on next gen technology.

  • T

    The reason they didn’t do it before is because if it’s standard, anybody can make it, and if anybody can make it, that means you can get your charger for $5 from Walmart instead of having to go to your mobile carrier’s store and pay $25 for something that they got from China for 15 cents.

  • This seems like a great idea, it will make charging a new phone less of a hassle, but the only problem will be getting all of the various cell phone companies to cooperate.

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  • scott mead

    First of all standardized chargers for cell phones is such a good a idea, one has to wonder why has it taken so long? Second why not expand the idea to include digital cameras and other devices. My wife and I each have acell phone and we have two digital cameras, all of them have mini-USB ports. But guess what? Thats right, they are all different.

    My toaster, microwave, stereo, and every other appliance all plug into the same receptacle, why not rechargable devices too.?

    Everyday we hear stuff about how “green” and environmetally concerned vaious companies and politicians are. I for one think it is time that something as simple and obvious as standardized chargers be adopted immeadiately.

    I once wrote my elected representavies regarding this and was generally ignored with one exception who responded that the government couldn’t make private industry do something. Perhaps he had never heard of OSHA MSHA DOT FAA EPA or IRS.

    Standardized chargers are long overdue.