Industry trumps regulation in meeting phone users' needs

EU unveils the new common mobile phone charger

Europe's first common mobile phone charger was revealed on Tuesday. Gone are the days of running out of battery charge when none of your colleagues have the same make of phone as you, or the hotel doesn't have your brand's charger.

The European Commission has been pushing this idea for many years, but it was up to industry to make it a reality. In 2009 the Commission issued an ultimatum to phone manufacturers: voluntarily adopt a common charger or face new legislation. Despite an absence of legislation, 14 major players in the mobile phone market responded to consumers' demands with unusual levels of cooperation in agreeing to technical standards.

In December the European standardization bodies CEN-CENELEC and ETSI issued the harmonized standards based on Micro-USB connector technology, meaning that mobile phone manufacturers can now proceed to design and testing stages for chargers ensuring that phones are safe and interoperable.

There are currently 30 different chargers on the market for Europe's estimated 500 million mobile phones. Aside from inconvenience to consumers, this situation also has a negative impact on the environment as people throw away chargers every time they change phones. This process currently generates more than 51,000 tons of electric waste per year in the E.U., according to the Commission.

The new common charger may lead to a new industry with companies potentially manufacturing stand-alone chargers without phones. Consumers will also be able to purchase mobile phones without chargers. Furthermore, it opens the door for charger harmonization on products such as MP3 players, laptops and cameras, although the Commission warns that there are different safety risks to be taken into account with these products.

The 14 phone manufacturers are Apple, Emblaze Mobile, Huawei, LGE, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Qualcomm, Research In Motion, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, TCT Mobile (ALCATEL mobile phones), Texas Instruments and Atmel. Their brands represent more than 90 percent of the mobile phones sold in Europe today. They plan to roll out the new common mobile phone chargers to the European market in the course of 2011.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags consumer electronicsPhonesaccessories

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?