Micro-USB to be universal EU phone charger

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.

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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

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25 comments
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  • the first thing the EU got right

    as compared to the shambolic case with IE8 in windows 7
    nessrapp
    • Links please.

      > the shambolic case with IE8 in windows 7

      Hmm, you've clearly read the EC's statement of objections, and proposed remedy. Care to post some links so we can all be so enlightened?

      (Hint: no matter what you think you know, the case is not about bundling.)
      njoho
    • EU got a lot of things right

      The list is too long for you though. You only see the IE case.
      nizuse
  • RE: Micro-USB to be universal EU phone charger

    Yes.

    Probably the single most influential act that Obama
    could take is to require, as CIC of the Armed Forces,
    standard batteries and voltages for all military
    personal electronic eqpt (eg. MILSPEC)

    Chose a voltage - say 12 V.
    Chose/design a battery.
    Chose/design a charger.

    Require that ALL personal electronics - laptops,
    cameras, camcorders, mobiles, etc. conform to these
    standards.
    Possibly one might want small/medium/large versions of
    the battery and plug.

    Hugh Loebner
    loebner
    • Hilarity

      Thanks for the fantastic FULL BELLY-LAUGH that erupted from reading this
      post.
      lelandhendrix@...
      • Cheers!

        The good comments always outweigh the bad, so thanks :)
        zwhittaker
    • RE: Micro-USB to be universal EU phone charger

      @loebner
      I am glad to say we don't operate that way in the U.S. We don't let government dictate stuff that is none of their business. If consumers don't want a bunch of proprietary crap, they don't have to buy it.

      I bought 5 phones for my family last year - two Samsungs, two Pantechs and an Apple. Only the Apple didn't use a micro USB. Big deal.
      Schoolboy Bob
  • RE: Micro-USB to be universal EU phone charger

    In US, Motorola is the biggest phone supplier and leads the way for micro-USB for years, so don't you worry about us mate.
    canhatip
  • RE: Micro-USB to be universal EU phone charger

    This is great news I suppose for EU users.

    However, is that the most commnly used port in the US?

    It seems to only make sense, all other things being equal, for all to
    agree use of the most commonly prevailing port, right? I certainly
    see USB being the standard, but why this micro kind and not the
    type which has been on both my moto razr and my blackberry
    before it!?
    lelandhendrix@...
  • RE: Micro-USB to be universal EU phone charger

    Yes, the international community (US and worldwide) should adopt this standard. There are a lot of benefits to consumers (not just beautiful women but also environmental considerations and consumer rights). Proprietary ports are basically just a way for phone companies to exert monopolistic control (i.e. you MUST by my charger and believe me it is monopolistic in that nearly all manufacturer chargers and accessories are over-priced relative to free market standards). Governments should enforce the "no bundling" anti-monopoly laws already on the books in the US to FORCE manufacturers to do this. I give two thumbs up to the companies that signed the agreement but challenge them to go one step further and do this with ALL phones worldwide.

    Todd Barber
    Chairman, Reef Ball Foundation
    www.reefball.org
    reefball@...
  • I don't think that it would be....

    ....a problem for you. You'd actually have to find a girl first.
    happyharry_z
  • RE: Micro-USB to be universal EU phone charger

    It would be nice if we have universal charger for all phones..but at same point Micro USB chargers wont last long..there is potential for cell phone charger port damage because of plug and unplug. i had att 8525 which uses micro usb for all purposes( charging,data transfer even for headset).now my phone charging port is not working.they should comeup with charger which currently nokia offering which is easy to use without any dmaage to phone.
    apniceone
    • Standardization can be a good thing

      FYI...your (and my AT&T 8525) don't use the MICRO USB connector. They use Mini USB which is actually more standard than Micro USB is at this point. More devices are moving toward Micro USB, but right now it's easier to find a Mini USB charger than a Micro USB charger. Most of us probably have Mini USB cables lying around that we can plug into an available USB port on our computer to charge your Mini USB device as it's pretty common for many computer devices such as digital cameras and portable hard drives. On the other hand, I don't have any computer devices that use the Micro USB connector, just some bluetooth devices.
      ViRaL1
  • EU Smart, USA STUPID

    Let's see...affordable, fast broadband..faster than the U.S.

    Cell phones that are affordable with plans that don't rape your wallet

    Standing up to Microsoft

    Technologically, they are geniuses.
    itanalyst2@...
    • USA SMART, itanalyst2 MORON

      First off the EU didn't do a thing. It was the phone manufacturers and they still haven't done a thing except make an agreement that they don't have to stick to.

      Second, if you want to insult the US then KMAB.
      Erroneous
      • Gravedigging just to say..

        How is that a counter-argument, you stupid American cunt?

        OP is even more right than ever, what with the recent ACTA ruling and all.
        daasdasdads
  • I've been hoping for this for a long time

    Great move. Hope it progresses to other portable electronics so that I only have to take one or two chargers with me when I travel. A lot of the time the chargers double the size of things like phones and portable games consoles.
    LeoD
    • This is not just a EU standard but an industry standard

      From Wikipedia:

      "The Micro-USB connector was announced by the USB-IF on January 4, 2007[13] and the Mini-USB connectors were deprecated. As of February 2009[update], most available devices and cables still use Mini plugs, but the newer Micro connectors are becoming more widely adopted. The thinner Micro connectors are intended to replace the Mini plugs in new devices including smartphones and personal digital assistants. The Micro plug design is rated for 10,000 connect-disconnect cycles. The Universal Serial Bus Micro-USB Cables and Connectors Specification details the mechanical characteristics of Micro-A plugs, Micro-AB receptacles, and Micro-B plugs and receptacles, along with a Standard-A receptacle to Micro-A plug adapter. The carrier-led Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMTP) group have recently endorsed micro-USB as the standard connector for data and power on mobile devices.[14] These include various types of battery chargers, allowing Micro-USB to be the single external cable link needed by some devices. As of 30Jun09 Micro-USB has been accepted by almost all cell phone manufacturers as the standard charging port (including Apple, Motorola, Nokia, LR, RIM, Sony Ericsson) in the EU and most of the world. World wide conversion to the new cellphone charging standard is expected to be completed between 2010 to 2012."

      powellwi
  • Welcome announcement

    Gone the days of packing a charger each for me and my
    wife (she likes Samsung, I like Nokia) - it sounds great.
    Zack, can you write a single article without referring to
    how drunk you are/were/will be?
    techrepublic@...
  • Notebook makers please GET THE MESSAGE

    If the phone manufacturers can do it, surely the notebook computer makers can too. I get pissed off with (i) having to buy a new second adaptor every time I buy a new notebook when I have 10 perfectly good ones in my cupboard, (ii) having different power connectors on every make and almost every model of computer. Please get together and give us standard connectors (and voltages). Thanks in advance!
    jonc2011