Phone Manufacturers Settle on Micro-USB Charging Standard


Image: Mobileburn

Here's some fantastic news: The Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMTP) group has decided to standardize on micro-USB as the charging interface for mobile phones, putting an end to the needless waste created by needing separate chargers for each device. The OMTP includes Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, LG, and Nokia—that's a majority of the GSM phone market right there, which will hopefully force any stragglers to join up. (Although I don't think we'll be seeing Apple ditching their plug for the iPhone any time soon.)

Most interesting to me was how environmental legislation in the EU may have been a factor in making the choice:

However, [telecom analyst Dean Bubley] also suggested that having a standard connector might be in manufacturers' best interests due to environmental reasons. The EU's WEEE directive makes manufacturers responsible for some of the costs associated with recycling their equipment, and a broadly applied standard could remove the need for a new charger to be distributed with every phone or accessory.

"This is cheaper to the manufacturer, and also results in a smaller, less heavy box, which reduces on shipping costs, storage costs, warehouse costs and so on," Bubley said. "It has got to have beneficial effects for everyone."

Micro-USB connectors, like the one on the right, should be small enough to be cleanly integrated into most slim phone designs for the near future.

Pros seem to outdo cons in new phone charger standard []

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  1. Being an almost exclusive Nokia guy, (except for a short stint with Nextel) I would have to applaud Nokia for rarely changing their charger port. I have had probably 10 different models, from the 252 and 636, up to my current E70, (love the butterfly keyboard) and only had 2 different chargers. If i could find it, I could use my original charger for my new E70. That’s nearly 10 years of phones, with little change in the charger. So while I can say this should have happened many years ago, at least Nokia was consistent across their product line.

  2. Now if only more smartphone developers could put a 3.5mm headphone jack onto their devices, I wouldn’t have to go spend another £5/£10 to buy mini-USB headphone and USB socket splitters so I can use a pair of regular headphones with my handset!

    Good news though, I suppose. HTC’s used Mini-USB for a while now, and I don’t really carry a wall plug around at all now unless I know I’m not going to have my laptop with me for charging. Which is, of course, never.

  3. Would prefer a Mini-USB interface, being a Windows Mobile specialist, but will have to live with whatever the common decision is.

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