There are tens of mobile phone makers each of which supplies tens of different models. Each manufacturer has at least two types of chargers for the existing product lineup, which translates into hundreds of types of chargers available worldwide. For manufacturers selling chargers may be a huge business, but for end-users picking up the right charger is definitely a headache.
The GSM Association and 17 leading mobile operators and manufacturers today announced that they are committed to implementing a cross-industry standard for a universal charger for new mobile phones. The aim of the initiative, led by the GSMA, is to ensure that the mobile industry adopts a common format for mobile phone charger connections and energy-efficient chargers resulting in an estimated 50% reduction in standby energy consumption, the potential elimination of up to 51 thousand tonnes of duplicate chargers and the enhancement of the customer experience by simplifying the charging of mobile phones.
The group has set an ambitious target that by 2012 a universal charging solution (UCS) will be widely available in the market worldwide and will use micro-USB as the common universal charging interface. The group agreed that by the 1st January 2012, the majority of all new mobile phone models available will support a universal charging connector and the majority of chargers shipped will meet the high efficiency targets set out by the OMTP (Open Mobile Terminal Platform), the industry body who developed the technical requirements behind UCS.
A universal charger will make life much simpler for the consumer, who will be able to use the same charger for future handsets, as well as being able to charge their mobile phone anywhere from any available charger.
UCS chargers will also include a 4-star or higher efficiency rating, which is up to three times more energy-efficient than an unrated charger, GSMA said. Furthermore, with potentially 50% less chargers being manufactured each year, the industry can expect to reduce greenhouse gases in manufacturing and transporting replacement chargers by 13.6 to 21.8 million tonnes a year.
The initial group of companies who have joined the GSMA's UCS initiative include 3 Group, AT&T, KTF, LG, mobilkom austria, Motorola, Nokia, Orange, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telenor, Telstra, T-Mobile and Vodafone.