Sadly, this isn’t about the industry switching to passive chargers or any new-fangled technology to revolutionise the way we juice up our phones. In fact, it’s pretty mundane. The idea is simple; one charger type for all handsets based on the Micro-USB standard connector.
Imagine only needing to carry one charger for a range of handsets, being able to use any other charger that is around (if you forgot your own) and the reduced need to keep producing millions of new chargers each year – with the environmental advantages that come with it.
In fact, it’s already happening after a vague agreement to standardise things a couple of years ago. Only a handful of manufacturers made the switch, and not always on every device. Most new Nokia’s are ready, as well as the latest BlackBerry Storm. Manufacturers already using mini-USB will find it easy to change over, while others will find themselves forced to ditch their hybrid-connectors.
With a commitment from the main handset makers, as well as operators that can put pressure on them to comply, each company will aim to use the standard charger for its mobile handsets by January 1st 2009.
Chargers will need to be at least 4-star energy rated, and ideally more, to be suitable and every handset manufacturer will need to change (if it hasn’t already done so) to the new connector on or before the deadline. The GSMA claims it will be possible to reduce the production of chargers by as much as 50%, offering up savings of up to 22 million tonnes of greenhouse gases.
The 17 companies that have signed up are; 3, AT&T, KTF, LG, mobilkom Austria, Motorola, Nokia, Orange, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Telenor, Telstra, T-Mobile and Vodafone.