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Micro-USB endorsed, a trick missed?

So, David Meyer, currently covering the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona for ZDNet.co.

So, David Meyer, currently covering the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona for ZDNet.co.uk, has reported that a number of players in the mobile phone industry have agreed to standardise on micro-USB as a single charging standard for mobile phones. His story is here.

The change won’t be seen today or tomorrow. The plan is that by 2012 ‘the majority’ of new mobile phones will have micro-USB chargers. On board are 3 Group, AT&T, KTF, LG, mobilkom austria, Motorola, Nokia, Orange, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telenor, Telstra, T-Mobile and Vodafone. It is an impressive list, but there are some absences. David notes that HTC has said it will participate. Will Apple join the fray at some point, too?

It is worth noting that the announcement is only about mobile phones. Your MP3 player and other gadgets aren’t included. So the question of how useful the initiative will really be for consumers is moot. After all, how many phones do you carry at the same time? It is more likely to benefit the manufacturers, who won’t have to ship a charger with every handset if they can be confident you already have one.

I’m inclined to think the GSMA has missed a trick. It is looking to the future, sure, but perhaps it is not quite using enough lateral thinking.

The other day I reported on Samsung’s solar powered mobile phone. LG is also working on a phone with a solar component, and expects to release the phone to market later this year.

I know the Samsung and LG initiatives are only two handsets among a sea of others on show in Barcelona this week, but I do wonder why the industry body did not see fit to encourage handset manufacturers to work on solar as an energy source.

After all, development costs may be relatively high at the outset, but down the line phone manufacturers are likely to save money on the non production of chargers, end users on the purchase costs of same, and if your phone charges by solar you can reduce your own use of energy into the bargain. And even if that doesn’t happen, the GSMA could have positioned itself as an eco friendly body.

A trick missed indeed.