Cell phone makers to standardize power/data connectors

Can it be true? Could one of life’s annoyances be vanquished forever? Can the problem be solved by the very people who created it?

Apparently so.

According to this post, “Micro-USB Mobile Phone Charging Standard Announced” at DailyTech, major cell phone manufacturers have agreed to use Micro-USB as the standard for battery charging and data connectors.

The biggest winner in this long coming development is the consumer, who will no longer have to worry about proprietary connectors and will be free to use old connectors or their friends connectors.

Jason Mick, DailyTech

Micro-USB is a new standard for USB cabling and terminals that is smaller and thinner than Mini-USB, which is now used on newer phones, cameras and PDAs. The decision was reached last week by major cell phone players Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and LG.

Lest we think that the companies were struck by sudden consumer altruism, however, the article makes it clear that simple economics was behind the move. According to DailyTech, the new standard is the result of:

  • Environmental laws in a growing number of countries and EU countries in particular forced phone manufactures to pay user disponsal and recycling fees for discarded chargers.
  • Chargers’ step-down transformers weigh many times more than the phones they are shipped with, requiring larger, more sturdy boxes and greatly increased distribution costs in the world-wide mobile phone market. Since chargers will be interchangeable between phones, manufacturers will no longer include a charger in the phone kit.
  • And finally, DailyTech visitor Aeros claims in a comment that Micro-USB is already the standard for connectors in China, which inevitably will become the largest market for mobiles.

DailyTech predicts the the first phones sporting the new connection standard will appear in 2008 model introductions (which means that US phones may have Micro-USB in 2009).

I can’t wait. It will mean my wife and I can share chargers and our phones will no longer have to take turns drinking at the power plug-in in the car.

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