Micro-USB to be universal EU phone charger

Summary:In a brave move, the vast majority of mobile phone manufacturers in Europe have signed an agreement which sees future mobile phones across a variety of brands and models all sharing the same charger port - the micro-USB. This means every phone you will find in Europe, starting next year apparently, will be fitted with the same charging port and be compatible with any charger.

In a brave move, the vast majority of mobile phone manufacturers in Europe have signed an agreement which sees future mobile phones across a variety of brands and models all sharing the same charger port - the micro-USB. This means every phone you will find in Europe, starting next year apparently, will be fitted with the same charging port and be compatible with any charger. One charger for every EU mobile phone - this is fantastic news.

Picture the scene. You're on your way back from a club in town, rather inebriated and feeling rather cocky. You met yourself a beautiful woman, just as hammered as you were, but in the two-and-a-half minutes you spent together before her boyfriend came over, you really connected. You managed to get her mobile number and are on your way back to your friends halls'. You're in the mood for loving, and decide to text her to see if she wants to hook up there and then.

But your phone's had the wireless enabled all evening and it's just ran out of juice. What's worse is your friend doesn't have a charger which will fit your phone. That story, my dears, is true: it happened to me only a few months ago.

If you're in north America, you'll be going home that evening (or morning as by now it'll probably be late) with nobody to keep you company except Mrs. Palm and her four lovely daughters. However, if you are in the EU, there's a good chance your friend's charger will fit yours due to the adapter's standards and you'll be going home with a lovely lady that evening; only to be smashed in the face by her boyfriend soon-after down the line.

As of yet, the agreement is undertaken by such names as Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, Research in Motion who make the BlackBerry (which most BlackBerry devices already have this port - did RIM see this coming?), Samsung, and even Apple which make the iPhone. What is surprising about the last company is that this may cause the end and death of the almighty Dock connector.

However, there is no legal reason why these companies can go ahead with using other ports. The agreement undertaken by these companies is not legally binding and only voluntary. On the other hand, this port agreement could open up different levels of possibility, as the micro-USB port is not only a charging port but can also be used as a data connector.

With over 30 different types of charger available for mobile phones throughout the EU, according to the BBC, this is to set a precedent unlike any before. This could well roll out to laptops, netbooks and other devices. But still nothing through for north America yet.

If this was offered where you were, say the United States, would you opt for it?

Topics: Government : UK, Government, Mobility, Telcos

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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