A universal cell phone charger…Posted: January 24, 2011
The universal cell phone charger is becoming reality soon, and thanks to the EU (or is it ?)
The European Commission started a long time ago asking for a standardized cell phone charger, in order to make consumers life easier (you won’t have to juggle with different chargers), make competition fair (if your charger breaks, you are not limited to one manufacturer to replace it) and reduce the volume of electronic waste (your old charger will still work with your new phone).
This project dates back to June 2009 [*,*] and is going to enter its active phase soon, the goal being that the charger standard will be wide-spread by nest year. The standard norm has been definitively adopted last month [*,*].
The Commission is now launching the communication campaign on this topic, in particular with a dedicated website: «Let’s Plug: One charger for all».
Is this universal charger a European victory ? Not quite yet…
Smart phones users (i.e. a growing part of cell phone users) already noticed that all (or close to all) of those phones are charging via a USB-type connector. It is true that the connection on the phone might be different (connectors for iPhone and BlackBerry for example are different) but on the other end of the cable, all use a USB connector, only the cable has to be different, the power source already is.
The Commission is going with the wind when it imposes a USB-type charger (see the specs here); the important point will be to impose this norm to non-smart phones, which do not connect to a computer and have no reason to adopt the USB connector.
And, much more important, even if the charger is standard, the true success of this initiative will be measured by the decrease in charger sells. If all the phones can charge on the same device, or even better on a computer USB port, the demand in phone charger should strongly decrease. It is also extremely important that cell phones using this universal charger will not be sold with the charger anymore.
The adoption of the charger norm and its acceptance by the manufacturer is just a first step, and actually the easiest one.