Universal phone chargers to finally become a reality

A GSMA-led group plans to ensure a universal charger for mobile phones based on the Micro-USB interface will be widely used by 2012.

An initiative backed by both mobile phone manufacturers and operators will result in a universal charger based on the Micro-USB interface for new mobile phones.

Moving to a universal charger will be a boon for both users and the environment by reducing the amount of waste, since fewer chargers have to be thrown away. It will make life a lot easier for users, who will be able to charge their mobile phones using any available charger, and when they buy a new phone they won't have to get a new charger.

The group agreed that by the January 2012, most mobile phones will support the universal charger, according to the GSM Association, which is leading the initiative.

Members on the phone and chipset side include LG, Motorola, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung and Sony Ericsson.

Members on the operator side include 3 Group, AT&T, KTF, Mobilkom Austria, Orange, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telenor, Telstra, T-Mobile and Vodafone.

Nokia sees the reduction of waste related to chargers as the biggest advantage with the initiative, but isn't ready to say when it will ship its first universal charger. The company will provide both the universal charger and its standard charger during a transitional period, according to a spokeswoman at Nokia.

The GSM Association expects the first chargers to ship this year, according to its chief marketing officer Michael O'Hara.

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