Operators and handset vendors plug standard charger
Micro USB chargers should save some green
MWC An alliance of operators and handset manufacturers has blown a substantial hole in the mobile accessories market by agreeing on a standard power charger for mobile phones.
Orange, Telefonica, Vodafone, 3, AT&T, mobilkom Austria, T-Mobile, Telenor Telstra, Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, LG and Sony Ericsson have agreed a micro USB standard for all mobile phones.
The scheme to implement the obvious has been led by the GSM Association. It was sealed last Friday and was announced by Rob Conway of the GSMA this morning. He billed it as a green, cost-reducing plan because the emphasis of his speech was how mobile telecoms is the global economic saviour.
The pitch is to produce a standard compliant charger which will power future generations of phones. This will allow manufacturers to ship phones without a charger, and mean that other people's chargers will charge your phone if you are caught short.
It’s not the first time micro USB has been proposed as a universal mobile charger. The GSMA announcement piggybacks an OMTP recommendation. OMTP is a talking-shop for operators who want to undermine the differentiation of handsets and so tilt the loyalty of consumers away from handsets.
Having failed to establish a standard OS with the un-mourned SavaJe, OMTP went for the charger which was always bound to be popular and give OMTP credibility. This was in turn riding on a Chinese government mandate in 2006.
The last two attempts having obviously failed, Rob Conway didn’t say when the certified compatible charger will appear but he did say that the GSMA has set a target for 50 per cent of phones shipped in 2012 to use this charger.
This might prove tough. Higher data speeds, for instance the ability to capture hi-def video on a mobile, will need a better connector than micro USB. This can be solved with two connectors.
A tougher issue is the need for ultra low cost handsets, where every cent matters, to move to something more expensive than a barrel connector to meet the new mandate. These alone might account for more than five per cent of the phones sold in 2012, which makes the GSMA aim a challenge. ®
I too had the o2 XDA exec and used it a lot. The micro USB broke free and rattled around inside the casing giving me a) worries about bits of metal going where they shouldn't and b) no way to charge the phone. Got it replaced with another o2 XDA exec and used it a lot. The micro USB broke free and rattled around inside the casing giving me a) worries about bits of metal going where they shouldn't and b) no way to charge the phone.
Micro USB as standard: fantastic idea, but c'mon, manufacturers, good build quality and ruggedisation please!
Paris, because nobody has broken her socket twice.
Lack of trust in proprietary connectors has blown the hole in the mobile accessories market
"An alliance of operators and handset manufacturers has blown a substantial hole in the mobile accessories market by agreeing on a standard power charger for mobile phones."
This is a fallacy. Customers are not stupid. If you try to rip them off by selling a hideously overpriced charger, they will simply *not buy it*.
And by the way I picked up a USB charger cable for my old Japanese cell phone with a proprietary connector in a 100 Yen store. That's less than 1 Euro.
What's worse, the connector idiocy has convinced most people that it's just not worth it to buy any other accessories unless you really really need them.
How many people do you know who actually bought a headset for their cell phone, or an extra charger? The standard method to get a second charger that I know is buy the same phone as your g/f.
There could be a lot more peripheral equipment for cell phones, like mini photo printers, camera flash lights, watches with SMS notifiers, car chargers, battery packs, foldable keyboards for message writing, mics for voice recording (think interviews) etc. etc., but these never ever sell because customers don't trust that they can use the device in 2 years when they get a new cell phone!
Screwing the customers over repeatedly has blown a substantial hole in the mobile accessories market.
Especially bad are companies that can't even keep their proprietary connectors consistent between model generations of their own products. Apple is guilty of proprietary standards in many areas, but at least the small pedestal that came with my 3rd gen iPod in 2003 still works with my iPhone and its charger.
Motorola knows a way round this....
I've seen a Motorola phone with a mini USB shaped port, but it pop's up a message about an "unauthorised charger" if you try to charge with an ordinary USB cable.
By the way, this new standard refers to "Micro USB". All those cables that you're using with your hard drives, MP3 players etc are "Mini USB".
Which isn't the same thing at all, at all, at all!