Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/10/26/itu_microusb/

ITU joins microUSB bandwagon

Common charger standard slowly gathers momentum

By Bill Ray

Posted in Mobile, 26th October 2009 12:19 GMT

The ITU has decided to turn its attention to the problem of mobile phone charging, underlining in green the microUSB standard already being adopted by the industry.

Just when you thought everyone who was anyone had already endorsed microUSB as the standard connection for all mobile phones - and by extension all mobile gadgets - the International Telecommunications Union has announced that it too thinks microUSB is top. It reckons chargers conforming to the UCS (Universal Charger Standard, as the ITU would have the standard known) will also have to be 4-star rated for energy consumption.

All this would be more impressive if the industry wasn't already moving wholesale towards microUSB, despite the fact that barely a handful of mobiles yet support the standard. The Chinese Government played a significant role in pushing the standard initially, but since then just about every industry body has put out a document saying what a great thing it would be if we all used microUSB, and the number of handsets supporting microUSB is rising steadily.

That does make for slower charging, as the amount of power allowed by the standard limits how quickly you can recharge a handset. But the advantages of being able to use any charger on any handset are obvious.

The ITU is a slow moving beast, but while its endorsement probably won't make any difference in the short term it might make hold-outs like Apple take note of the direction the rest of the industry is taking. ®