OK, I'll admit it. I am NOT in Barcelona, Spain. Which is why I won't even try to pseudo-report the green tech news that came out of the Mobile World Congress that was held there over the past week. What I WILL do is point to this trend piece from the Guardian out of the United Kingdom, which reports about the movement for a universal mobile phone charge that got some air time with attendees.
The GSMA and 17 mobile operators and manufacturers are behind a plan to create a standard for universal chargers that will work with new mobile phones. The intent is two-fold: The companies are pushing for more energy-efficiency, including a 50 percent reduction in standby energy consumption, AND they could eliminate an estimated 51,000 tons of duplicate chargers. The universal charging standard (UCS) will rely on Micro-USB as the interface, and the group is shooting for Jan. 1, 2012 for support of the technology in MOST new mobile phone models shipped after that date.
Why should you care? If you tend to carry way too many different chargers and gadgets like me, this will probably help with perpetual neck cricks or with angst when you arrive somewhere on a business trip to realize you forgot that one itty-bitty piece. More seriously, though, once these chargers become universal, they are bound to get a lot cheaper. The law of commodity pricing. And, they'll use less energy while they lie on the floor under you desk waiting to do their thing.
Supporters include 3Group, AT&T, KTF, LG, mobilkom austria, Motorola, Nokia, Orange, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Telenor, Telstra, T-Mobile and Vodafone.
I would be remiss if I didn't link to the Greenplug guys about this topic, since they have been advocating universal power technology for lo these many months now. Here's their entry about the GSMA activity. If you scroll down, you can also read more about some of their consumer-facing advocacy efforts.