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Cellphones Power

Handset Vendors Plug Micro-USB Charge Ports 363

Posted by timothy
from the kicking-and-screaming-to-the-briar-patch dept.
ketan324 points to a Register story touting an agreement among several phone makers to settle on Micro USB for their phones' charging ports, writing "It's about time for these cellphone manufacturers to wise up and design a universal phone charger. Although many manufacturers have already 'standardized' to a mini-USB interface, there are many more out there who use proprietary adapters. I wonder how Apple will feel about this? Will they finally realize that their oh-so-special adapter is nothing more than a fudged USB interface?" No legislation required.
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Handset Vendors Plug Micro-USB Charge Ports

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  • by corsec67 (627446) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @12:56PM (#26888695) Homepage Journal

    Why the hell do I need to install a Motorola XP driver to charge my RAZR?

    Maybe Windows leaves sending the "You can take up to 500mA" signal to the driver for the device?

  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @01:03PM (#26888817) Homepage Journal
    You have a phone with S-Video out? Anyway, if you have a phone with a bunch of obscure ports like that, wouldn't it be better to have a separate connector for the power/data/digital audio from whatever weird ports you also have? Separate headphone jacks are hardly unique.
  • Re:oh-so-special? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Theaetetus (590071) <<theaetetus.slashdot> <at> <gmail.com>> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @01:14PM (#26889023) Homepage Journal

    So I don't know why the submitter has to turn this into an Apple-bashing thing. Apple actually uses standards pretty often.

    Apple was the first to push widespread adoption of USB, IEEE1394, 802.11n, and MPEG-4, among many other standards.

  • by Hal_Porter (817932) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @01:17PM (#26889069)

    Actually I worked for a company that made things that charge of USB once and I talked to the person who decided such things. He explained the "not allowed to draw more the 100mA before enumeration" rationale. I showed him my USB hard disk. It has two plugs, one of which is just to leach power, so it manages to draw 500mA from each plug. And actually most USB widgets are dumb - no microcontroller - and draw more than 100mA. And I've never seen them fail to work on any USB host.

    I couldn't convince him to make the device charge without a driver though, even though enforcing the spec like this probably just pisses people off. Actually it's worse than that, there are wallwarts that supply 5V (often at 1000mA or more) to a USB connection but don't have a USB host. Devices that refuse to charge before enumeration won't work with those either.

    Actually I think there's an argument for drawing power off the bus, and only limiting current such that the 5V line stays in spec, i.e 5V±5%. That way you could safely draw more than 500mA from a USB wallwart which could supply it but did not enumerate.

  • Re:oh-so-special? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @01:18PM (#26889091) Journal
    On the other hand, they specifically implemented an authentication chip that prevents video output on newer ipods if you use anything but officially blessed cables. There are certainly reasons for the dock connector; but that doesn't change the fact that Apple's approach toward accessory makers has pretty much been "flip over and shake until money stops coming out".
  • by damaki (997243) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @01:20PM (#26889123)
    Because that when the device is not identified by the OS, the power output is capped to 100mA. When identified, it can go up to 500mA.
    The evident solution would be to use a standard passive driver.
  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @01:23PM (#26889177) Homepage Journal

    Nonsense. I have been able to charge both my previous phone (Motorola RAZR) and my current phone (LG Rumor) from my Ubuntu-powered PC, no drivers necessary. (Posted from my Rumor, BTW.)

  • Re:oh-so-special? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @01:40PM (#26889549)

    Not to mention the exclusion of 5.25" floppy drives in favor of 3.5", and later, the exclusion of any floppy drive in favor of just an optical drive and USB ports.

  • Re:oh-so-special? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Logic (4864) <esm+slashdot@logic.net> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @01:44PM (#26889619) Homepage

    Excellent point. Just to head off other people talking out of their ass (wishful thinking, I know), the pinout [pinouts.ru] for the iPod/iPhone connector ought to be required reading before commenting on what it can and can't do. That connector provides interfaces for USB and Firewire, audio in/out, video out (composite and s-video), serial, and dedicated power.

    It's not an ideal situation, but a single cable covers just about every possible use case. That's a big deal, ergonomically, and it means Apple can standardize internally on an interface across multiple product lines.

    It's unfortunate: the knee-jerk reaction to "we need a universal charger" will miss the opportunity to standardize on a SINGLE interface cable for mobile devices, rather than using USB for power and data, a headphone jack for audio output, and who knows what proprietary arrangement for audio input and video output.

  • Re:oh-so-special? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bucky0 (229117) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @01:49PM (#26889703)

    [Citation Needed]

    I have a new iPod touch that works fine with some handmedown generic cables.

  • by xouumalperxe (815707) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @01:57PM (#26889871)
    My guess is that your MP3 player is showing up as a bog standard HDD unit, which is then treated as a fully identified device. The devices that need drivers are the ones that want to show up as something else that would require drivers to actually work properly (not just charge). I guess that's a reasonably smart behaviour that prevents some burnt devices. Your dumb LCD screen USB port probably couldn't care less about what's connected to it, so it gives juice to whatever asks for it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @02:20PM (#26890319)

    Although the standard says that it's capped to 100mA, in reality you can pull 500mA from modern computers without any port shutdown. I've verified this with a power resistor on a good number of machines. The only one that balked was my CF27 toughbook running Win2k

  • by jacksonj04 (800021) <nick@nickjackson.me> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:31PM (#26891587) Homepage

    They don't get the power they need to operate, but may think that they do. I spent ages trying to figure out why an external DVD drive wasn't working properly because it had enough power to tell the host it was there, appear as a device etc but not enough to actually function.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <.ten.3dlrow. .ta. .ojom.> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:44PM (#26891847) Homepage

    There is a very simple solution to this that does not involve any drivers - USB HID devices.

    I create my own USB devices (http://denki.world3.net) and almost always use HID instead of a special driver. Even if the phone is not a "human interface device", you can just create a special kind of HID device that the computer will basically ignore. You can still do any custom communications you like but the device will install on Windows/Linux/Mac without the need for a driver, and you can specify the amount of current you want.

  • by maxume (22995) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:48PM (#26891911)

    Is it drawing 0.5 amps?

    Are you sure it isn't using the built in mass storage driver?

    Etc.?

    0.1 amps is fine for overnight charging of small devices, but it really isn't all that nuts for people to expect their phone to charge completely in a couple of hours. That you don't care isn't necessarily relevant.

  • Re:oh-so-special? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:01PM (#26892213) Journal
    This [ilounge.com] and this [apple.com] are examples of the genre.

    I've yet to see much in the way of technical breakdown of the issue; but it is unequivocally the case that they, deliberately, added proprietary secret sauce to the iPod video out process, in order to capture a larger percentage of accessory revenue.

    This article [popularmechanics.com] is also worth a look. I doubt that they are doing anything illegal; but Apple is anything but a fuzzy friend of standards with respect to the dock connector.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:33PM (#26892907)

    Posting as AC because i can't log in from work, so i hope this gets seen. I have a USB modem from novatel wireless that has a small amount of memory onboard, and when plugged in mounts itself as a cdrom drive under windows or mac, and pops up to install it's own drivers. (under linux it uses the standard kernel driver for CDMA modems, no extra driver needed). I think it's a pretty cool idea, no matter what OS you're using, two clicks at most from plugging it in and it just WORKS, no driver cd, no needing to download drivers, nothing.

  • I love it! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SupremoMan (912191) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @06:38PM (#26894949)
    So they decide on universal ports for chargers.... but nothing about accessories. I love it! Even funnier, they say nothing about this generation micro-USB chargers working on next generation phones! Don't worry guys, they'll find a way to fleece us yet!

APL is a write-only language. I can write programs in APL, but I can't read any of them. -- Roy Keir

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